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759.5 L58n-2 v.2 68-15648 

Leonardo Da Vinci 

The notebooks of Leonardo Da 


kansas city 

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kansas city, missouri 

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-*^ ' '^ .QOO7 

L)A f E DUfe 





Arranged, Rendered into English 

and Introduced 


Volume II 



First published, 1939, by Reynal Hitchcock, Inc. 

Manufactured in the United States of America 

by The Haddon Craftsmen, Inc. 

Scranton, Pa. <*g&*>i 

Volume II 






























1 122 



SELF PORTRAIT frontispiece 

Royal Library, Windsor 


Royal Library, Windsor 

Royal Library, Windsor 


Accademia, Venice 


British Museum 


Royal Library, Windsor 


Royal Library, Windsor 


FRANCIS I AND LEO X (See Popp: Leonardo Zeichnungen) 1024 

Royal Library, Windsor 



Volume II 

The Nature of Water 

As from the said fool of blood proceed the veins 
which spread their branches through the human 
body, in just the same manner the ocean fills the 
body of the earth with an infinite number of veins 
of water! 

IF A drop of water falls into the sea when this is calm, it must of ne- 
cessity be that the whole surface of the sea is raised imperceptibly, see- 
ing that water cannot be compressed within itself like air. C.A. 20 r. a 

Whether the surface of the air is bounded by the fire, as is the water 
by the air and the earth by the water, and whether the surface of the air 
takes waves and eddies as does the surface of the water, and whether 
in proportion as the body of the air is thinner than that of the water the 
revolutions of its eddies are greater in number: of the eddies of the 
water some have their centres filled with air, others with water. I do 
not know whether it is the same with the eddies of the surface of the 
fire. Of the eddies of the water all those which begin at the surface are 
filled with air, and those that have their origin within the water are 
filled with water; and these are more lasting because water within 
water has no weight as water has when it is above the air; therefore 
the eddies of the water round the air have weight and speedily perish. 

C.A. 42 r. a 


The deluges of rivers are created when the mouths of the valleys 
cannot afford egress to the waters that they receive from these valleys 
as rapidly as the valleys receive them. 

The progress of the water is swifter when it falls at a greater angle. 




The wave is the recoil of the stroke, and it will he greater or less in 
proportion as the stroke itself is greater or less. A wave is never found 
alone, but is mingled with as many other waves as there are uneven 
places in the object where the said wave is produced. At one and the 
same time there will be moving over the greatest wave of a sea innum- 
erable other waves proceeding in different directions. If you throw a 
stone into a sea with various shores, all the waves which strike against 
these shores are thrown back toward where the stone has struck, and 
on meeting others advancing they never interrupt each other's course. 
Waves of equal volume, velocity and power, when they encounter each 
other in opposing motion, recoil at right angles, the one from the stroke 
of the other. That wave will be of greater elevation which is created by 
the greater stroke, and the same is true of the converse. The wave pro- 
duced in small tracts of water will go and return many times from the 
spot which has been struck. The wave goes and returns so many more 
times in proportion as the sea which produces it contains a less quantity 
of water, and so conversely. Only in the high seas do the waves advance* 
without ever turning in recoil. In lesser tracts of water the same stroke 
gives birth to many motions of advance and recoil. The greatest wave 
is covered with innumerable other waves moving in different direc- 
tions; and these have a greater or less depth as they are occasioned by a 
greater or less power. The greatest wave is covered with various waves, 
which move in as many different directions as there were different 
places from which they separated themselves. The same wave produced 
within a small tract of water has a greater number of other waves pro- 
ceeding over itself, in proportion to the greater strength of its stroke 
and recoil from the opposite shores. Greater is the motion of the wave 
than that of the water of which it is composed. Many waves turned in 
different directions can be created between the surface and the bottom 
of the same body of water at the same time. The eddying movements 
can accompany the direct movements of each wave. All the impressions 
caused by things striking upon the water can penetrate one another 
without being destroyed. One wave never penetrates another; but they 
only recoil from the spot where they strike. <:,A. fy v. a 


The movement of water within water proceeds like that of air 
within air. C.A. 108 v. a 

Among irremediable and destructive terrors the inundations caused 
by rivers in flood should certainly be set before every other dreadful 
and terrifying movement, nor is it, as some have thought, surpassed by 
destruction by fire. I find it to be the contrary, for fire consumes that 
which feeds it and is itself consumed with its food. The movement of 
water which is created by the slopes of the valleys does not end and die 
until it has reached the lowest level of the valley; but fire is caused by 
what feeds it, and the movement of water by its wish to descend. The 
food of the fire is disunited, and the mischief caused by it is disunited 
and separated, and the fire dies when it lacks food. The slope of the 
valley is continuous and the mischief done by the destructive course 
of the river will be continuous until, attended by its valleys, it ends 
in the sea, the universal base and only resting place of the wandering 
waters of the rivers. 

But in what terms am I to describe the abominable and awful evils 
against which no human resource avails? Which lay waste the high 
mountains with their swelling and exulting waves, cast down the 
strongest banks, tear up the deep-rooted trees, and with ravening waves 
laden with mud from crossing the ploughed fields carry with them the 
unendurable labours of the wretched weary tillers of the soil, leaving 
the valleys bare and mean by reason of the poverty which is left there. 

Among irremediable and destructive terrors the inundations caused 
by impetuous rivers ought to be set before every other awful and terrify- 
ing source of injury. But in what tongue or with what words am I to 
express or describe the awful ruin, the inconceivable and pitiless havoc, 
wrought by the deluges of ravening rivers, against which no human 
resource can avail? C.A. 108 v. b 

Prove and draw up the rule for the difference that there is between 
a blow given by water upon water, and by water falling upon some- 
thing hard; and consider wdl also that as water falls upon other water, 
and it yields space to the bluvv, the percussion making the water open 
as it receives the blow, so the same result will occur in a vase when the 
water -which is contained within it has been struck, for it will be the 


same as when falling water has struck against a hard substance which 
resists the blow. C.A. 153 v. d 


Among straight rivers which occur in land o the same character, 
with the same abundance of water and with equal breadth, length, 
depth, and declivity of course, that will be the slower which is the more 

This may be proved with straight rivers. That will be most winding 
which is the oldest, and that which winds will become slower as it 
acquires greater length. 

Of waters which descend from equal altitudes to equal depths that 
will be the slower which moves by the longer way. 

Of rivers which are at their commencement that will be the slower 
which is the more ancient, and this arises from the fact that the course 
is continually acquiring length by reason of the additional meander- 
ings of the river; and the reason of this is explained in the twelfth 
section. C.A. 156 r. a 

The cause which moves the humours in all kinds of living bodies 
contrary to the natural law of their gravity, is really that which moves 
the water pent up within them through the veins of the earth and dis- 
tributes it through narrow passages; and as the blood that is low rises 
up high and streams through the severed veins of the forehead, or as 
from the lower part of the vine the water rises up to where its branch 
has been lopped, so out of the lowest depths of the sea the water rises 
to the summits of the mountains, and finding there the veins burst 
open it falls through them and returns to the sea below. Thus within 
and without it goes, ever changing, now rising with fortuitous move- 
ment and now descending in natural liberty. 

So united together it goes ranging about in continual revolution. 

Rushing now here now there, up and down, never resting at all in 
quiet either in its course or in its own nature, it has nothing of its own 
but seizes hold on everything, assuming as many different natures as 
the places are different through which it passes, acting just as the 
mirror does when it assumes within itself as many images as are the 
objects which pass before it. So it is in a state of continual change, 


.sometimes of position and sometimes of colour, now enclosing in itself 
new scents and savours, now keeping new essences or qualities, show- 
ing itself now deadly now lifegiving, at one time dispersing itself 
through the air, at another suffering itself to be sucked up by the heat, 
and now arriving at the region of cold where the heat that was its guide 
is restricted by it. 

And as when the hand under water squeezes a sponge so that the 
water that escapes from it creates a wave that passes through the other 
water, even so does the air that was mingled with the water when the 
cold 1 is squeezed out, flee away in fury and drive out the other air; 
this then is the course of the wind. 

And as the hand which squeezes the sponge under water when it is 
well soaked, so that the water pent up within it is compelled to flee 
away and therefore is driven by force through the other water and 
penetrates it, and this second mass perceiving itself to be struck de- 
parts in a wave from its position, even so the new . . . makes . . * 

C.A. 171 r. a 

The sharp bends made in the embankments of rivers are destroyed 
in the great floods of the rivers because the maximum current drives 
the water in a straight course. But as this diminishes it resumes its 
winding course, during which it is being continually diverted from 
one bank to another, and as it thus grows less the embankment of the 
river becomes hollowed out. 

But in this lesser depth the water does not move with uniform 
course, because the greater current leaps from one hollow to another 
of the opposite banks, and the sides of the water which border upon 
the embankment have the shortest course. 

The rotundities in the islands of shingle formed by the angles of the 
embankment trace their origin to the chief eddies of the rivers, which 
extend with their revolutions among the concavities and convexities 
which are fotind alternately in the embankments of the rivers; and 
from these spring the tiny brooks, interposed between the sandbanks 
of the rivers and their embankments, and placed opposite to the hol- 
lows of the embankments of these rivers. 

1 MS., quetta del freddo. 


The entry of river into river produces the first meanderings of the 

The meanderings of rivers in plains are occasioned by the rivers 
emptying themselves there. 

If the winding river be altogether removed from its ancient bed and 
set in a straight channel, it is necessary that the rivers which pour 
themselves into it from two sides increase in length on the one side 
as much as they lose it on the other, the one that acquires length losing 
in swiftness, this swiftness being transferred to the one that grows 

Cause the lesser rivers to enter into the greater rivers at acute angles; 
the advantage of this will be that the current of the greater river di- 
verts the line of entry of the lesser river and does not suffer it to strike 
against the opposite bank. 

Should however the lesser river be in flood at the time when the 
waters of the greater river are low the percussion of the lesser river 
will break the opposite bank of this greater river. 

The largest of the curves of a river in a valley will always have its 
convex side facing the lower part of the breadth of the valley. 

The meanderings of rivers are always greater in proportion as they 
are nearer to the spot where the lesser river enters the greater. 

The waves of earth formed by the embankment of the rivers are 
continually changing their positions, the former being created anew 
where the latter have been washed away. C.A. 185 r. b 

Prove whether a triangle thrown into still water makes its wave of 
perfect roundness in the end. C.A. 199 v. b 

\S\etch figure of bubble resting on water] 

Why the bubbles which the water makes are half-spheres and those 
of the air are perfect spheres. Why the sides of the base of the half- 
sphere are spherical rectangles, and the contact which each has with 
the water does not cause it to form a projection above it but on account 
of its weight it has to bend and curve. C.A, 209 r. a 

[With drawing] 

The water that falls down from a height, will create a deep pool, 
which will continually increase, and its banks will often fall in. And 


the reason of this is that the water, which falls upon the other water, 
by the swiftness of its blow and by its weight causes it to give place, 
and passes down to its depths where it forms a hollow space, and 
through the stroke and the air, which as it falls is buried with it, it 
comes to rise up again and raise itself to a height by various channels, 
which expand like an opening bud, and the stroke of the water upon 
the bank proceeds in a circle and thus continuing it will gnaw and 
consume the surrounding shores. C.A. 215 v. d 

The air by its nature does not flee away beneath the water; but the 
water which is supported round about it presses it out of itself and 
drives it forth. 

Therefore one element does not flee away of itself out of the other 
element, but is driven out by it. C,A. 244 v. a 


The flow and ebb of the sea are due to the course of the rivers, which 
give the water back again to the sea with slower movement than the 
movement of their own current; and on this account necessity causes 
the water to rise to a height. And this river covers up its current again 
with the swift wave which in its recoil goes to meet the descending 
current of the river. 

The wave of the river flows back against its current when the sea 
is at its ebb. After the return of the wave to the shore it there acquires 
new power from the approach of the river. 

The flow and ebb of the sea are not caused by the moon or the sun, 
but by the greatest wave as it advances and falls back. But since the 
recoil is weaker than the advancing movement, as it is deprived of 
support, this hesitating movement would consume itself if it were not 
renewed by the help of the rivers; for these being immediately swollen 
by the approaching wave of the aforesaid tide, the wave produced by 
this swollen river becomes added to this ebb, and it strikes the opposite 
shores of the islands set over against it, and then leaps back, and so 
returns in its former course, and so continues, as has been said above. 

This experience has taught us, for it is seen continually in every 
river, and especially as it strikes against the sides of its bays. 

C.A. 281 r. a 


The spiral or rotary movement of every liquid is so much the swifter 
in proportion as it is nearer to the centre of its revolution. 

This that we set forth is a circumstance worthy of note; since move- 
ment in the circular wheel is so much slower as it is nearer to the centre 
of the revolving object. But this same circumstance is shown in the 
similarity of movement both as to speed and length in each complete 
revolution of the water, both in the circumference of its greater and of 
its lesser circle; but the curve of the lesser circle is as much less than 
that of the greater as the greater circle is more curved than the lesser. 
And so this water is of uniform movement in all the processes of its 
revolution, and if it were not so the concavity would instantly be filled 
up again. But because the lateral weight of this eddying mass 1 is two- 
fold, such concavity has no permanent movement, and of such dupli- 
cation of weight the first comes into being in the revolving movement 
of the water, the second is created in the sides of this concavity, and it 
supports itself there and finally falls headlong down upon the air which 
has filled up the aforesaid cavity with itself. 

The movements of the air through the air are two, that is straight in 
the form of a column upwards, and with revolving movement* 

But water makes this movement downwards, and makes it in the 
form of a pyramid, and makes it so much the more swiftly as the 
pyramid is more pointed. C.A. 296 v. b 


There were many of the chief towns of the districts which, through 
being placed upon their chief rivers, have been consumed and de- 
stroyed by these rivers, as was Babylon by the Tigris, by means of 
Cyrus , . . and so with an infinite number of regions; and the science 
of water gives exact information as to their defences. C.A. 305 r. a 

Water falling perpendicularly into running water makes a curve as 
it enters and a curve as it rises. The summit of the part that rises in the 
air will not be in the centre of the base o this cavity, and this base will 
be oval. C.A. 343 v. a 

1 MS. circtdazion rcvertiginosa. 



The water falls in whatever is the line of the summit o its wave, 
and it moves more swiftly where this fall has less slant, and breaks 
more into foam where it meets with more resistance. 

There, according to what has been stated, the waves break against 
the course of the river and never in the direction of its course, because 
water falling upon flowing water can never create a rebound upon 
something that flies away and does not await the stroke; but in the 
case of the opposite descent towards the course of the water, the water 
in the wave as it falls against the course of the river does not come 
upon water which flies away from its stroke, but upon water which is 
proceeding in the opposite direction to this fall; and consequently as 
the wave in its fall has four degrees of velocity and the water that 
comes to meet it is also of four degrees of velocity, the impetus of the 
wave acquires eight degrees of velocity, and therefore waves of rivers 
break against their current, and that of the sea breaks against the water 
that flies back from the shore against which it has struck, and not 
against the wind that drives it. C.A. 354 r. b 


Every movement of water creates flow and ebb in every part of the 
river where the swiftness of its course checks it. 

This is proved by the fact that where the course of the river is steeper 
it is swifter; and where it is more level it is slower. Therefore the level 
sea receives more water than it discharges; for which reason it is nec- 
essary for the water of the sea to rise to such a height that its weight 
overcomes the water that drives it; and then this water which has been 
driven descends from its height round about the base of the aforesaid 
hill, and that part which descends against the current mentioned before 
swells this current up in such a way that the upper part of its water is 
retarded, until the water that follows becoming more abundant subdues 
the ebb and creates a new flow. C.A. 354 r. e 

The impetus made in the great current of the water preserves its line 
among the motionless waves as the solar ray may do in the course of 
the winds. 


At one time the wave of the impetus is motionless amid the great 
current of the water, at another it is extremely swift in the motionless 
water, that is on the surface of the swamps. 

Why does a blow upon the water create many waves ? C.A. 354 v. a 

The river which has always depth at the centre of its course will keep 
within its banks. 

Where the channel is more confined, there the water runs more 
strongly than elsewhere, and as it issues from the straight it spreads 
itself furiously, and strikes and wears away the near banks which lie 
across its course, and often changes its course from one place to another, 

C.A. 361 r. b 

The movement of the wind resembles that of the water. 

What is the difference between water which is drawn and water 
which is driven? 

Water which is drawn is when the Ocean as it falls draws after it the 
water of the Mediterranean Sea. 

Water driven is that caused by the rivers which, as they come into the 
sea, drive its water. 

Amid all the causes of the destruction of human property, it seems 
to me that rivers on account of their excessive and violent inundations 
hold the foremost place. And if as against the fury of impetuous rivers 
any one should wish to uphold fire, such a one would seem to me to be 
lacking in judgment, for fire remains spent and dead when fuel fails it, 
but against the irreparable inundation caused by swollen and proud 
rivers no resource of human foresight can avail; for in a succession of 
raging and seething [waves], gnawing and tearing away the high 
banks, growing turbid with the earth from the ploughed fields, destroy- 
ing the houses therein and uprooting the tall trees, it carries these as its 
prey down to the sea which is its lair, bearing along with it men, trees, 
animals, houses and lands, sweeping away every dike and every kind of 
barrier, bearing with it the light things, and devastating and destroying 
those of weight, creating big landslips out of small fissures, filling up 
with its floods the low valleys, and rushing headlong with insistent and 
inexorable mass of waters. 

What a need there is of flight for whoso is near! O how many citic s % 
how many lands, castles, villas and houses has it consumed! 


How many of the labours of wretched husbandmen have been ren- 
dered idle and profitless! How many families has it brought to naught, 
and overwhelmed! What shall I say of the herds of cattle which have 
been drowned and lost! 

And often issuing forth from its ancient rocky beds it washes over 
the tilled [lands] . . . C.A. 361 v. a 

Where the channel of the river is more sloping the water has a 
swifter current; and where the water is swifter it wears the bed of its 
river more away and deepens it more and causes the same quantity of 
water to occupy less space. 

The shorter the course of the rivers the greater will be their speed. 
And so also conversely it will be slower in proportion as their course has 
greater length. 

Where the superabundance of the water is not received within the 
depth of its channel, necessity causes it to fall precipitately outside its 

No part of an element possesses weight within its element unless it is 
either moved within it with impetus, or falls down within it, being 
drawn by it from within another element. C.A. 365 r. a 

The course of a smaller flood of water conforms to that of the larger 
of the great floods, and changes course and keeps company with it and 
ceases to delve under the banks. 

The proof of this is seen in the Po. For when it is low its water runs 
many times in cross-currents, and called by the low places and directing 
its way towards these it takes its course and strikes the bank in its 
foundations, and hollows these out causing wide destruction. But when 
it flows in full stream the lesser quantity which formerly with its cross- 
current had beaten upon the banks and hollowed them, abandons its 
course, being dragged in company with the greater volume of water 
and advancing along the line of its base it forbears to damage its banks. 

A 23 v. 

The water which falls by the line nearest to the vertical is that which 
descends most rapidly and gives itself with greatest blow and greatest 
weight to the spot on which it strikes. 


Every stream of water when near to its fall will have the curve of the 
descent commencing on the surface before it commences in the depth. 

A 24 r. 

Water is by its weight the second element that encompasses the earth, 
and that part of it which is outside its sphere will seek with rapidity to 
return there. And the farther it is raised above the position of its ele- 
ment the greater the speed with which it will descend to it. Its qualities 
are dampness and cold. It is its nature to search always for the low- 
lying places when without restraint. Readily it rises up in steam and 
mist, and changed into cloud falls back again in rain as the minute 
parts of the cloud attach themselves together and form drops. And at 
different altitudes it assumes different forms, namely water or snow 01 
hail. Constantly it is buffeted by the movement of the air, and it 
attaches itself to that body on which the cold has most effect, and it 
takes with ease odours and flavours. A 26 r, 

It is not possible that dead water should be the cause of movement 
either of itself or of anything else. A 43 r. 


Man has been called by the ancients a lesser world, and indeed the 
term is rightly applied, seeing that if man is compounded of earth, 
water, air and fire, this body of the earth is the same; and as man has 
within himself bones as a stay and framework for the flesh, so the world 
has the rocks which are the supports of the earth; as man has within 
him a pool of blood wherein the lungs as he breathes expand and con- 
tract, so the body of the earth has its ocean, which also rises and falls 
every six hours with the breathing of the world; as from the said pool 
of blood proceed the veins which spread their branches through the 
human body, in just the same manner the ocean fills the body of the 
earth with an infinite number of veins of water. In this body of the 
earth there is lacking, however, the sinews, and these are absent because 
sinews are created for the purpose of movement, and as the world is 
perpetually stable within itself no movement ever takes place there, and 
in the absence of any movement the sinews are not necessary; but in 
all other things man and the world show a great resemblance. 



Clearly it would seem that the whole surface of the ocean when not 
affected by tempest is equally distant from the centre of the earth, and 
that the tops of the mountains are as much farther removed from this 
centre as they rise above the surface of the sea. Unless therefore the 
body of the earth resembled that of man it would not be possible that 
the water of the sea being so much lower than the mountains should 
have power in its nature to rise to the summit of the mountains. We 
must needs therefore believe that the same cause that keeps the blood at 
the top of a man's head keeps water at the summit of mountains. 


Where there is life there is heat, and where there is vital heat there is 
movement of vapour. This is proved because one sees that the heat of 
the element of fire always draws to itself the damp vapours, the thick 
mists and dense clouds, which are given off by the seas and other lakes 
and rivers and marshy valleys. And drawing these little by little up to 
the cold region, there the first part halts, because the warm and moist 
cannot exist with cold and dryness; and this first part having halted 
receives the other parts, and so all the parts joining together one to 
another form thick and dark clouds. 

And these are often swept away and carried by the winds from one 
region to another, until at last their density gives them such weight 
that they fall in thick rain; but, if the heat of the sun is added to the 
power o the element of fire, the clouds are drawn up higher and come 
to more intense cold, and there become frozen and so produce hail- 

So the same heat which holds up so great a weight of water as is seen 
to fall in rain from the clouds sucks it up from below from the roots of 
the mountains and draws it up and confines it among the mountain 
summits, and there the water finds crevices, and so continuing it issues 
forth and creates rivers. A 54 v. 

If heat is the cause of the movement of moisture cold stops it. This 
has been already shown by the example of the cold region which stops 


the clouds drawn by the hot element. As for the proof that the heat 
draws the moisture it is shown as follows: heat a jug and set it in a 
vase with the mouth downwards, and place there some charcoal which 
has been lighted. You will see that the moisture as it retires before the 
heat will rise and fill the jug with water, and the air which was 
enclosed in this jug will escape through its opening. 

Also if you take a wet cloth and hold it to the fire you will see the 
damp of the cloth leave its place, and that part of the moisture which 
has least substance will rise up, drawn by the proximity of the fire 
which from its nature rises towards the region of its element. In this 
way the sun draws up the moisture. 


I say that it is just like the blood which the natural heat keeps in the 
veins at the top of the man, and when the man has died this blood 
becomes cold and is brought back into the low parts, and as the sun 
warms the man's head the amount of blood there increases, and it 
grows to such an excess there with the humours as to overload the veins 
and frequently to cause pains in the head. It is the same with the 
springs which ramify through the body of the earth and, by the natural 
heat which is spread through all the body that contains them, the 
water stays in the springs and is raised to the high summits of the 
mountains. And the water that passes through a pent-up channel within 
the body of the mountain like a dead thing will not emerge from its 
first low state, because it is not warmed by the vital heat of the first 
spring. Moreover the warmth of the element of fire, and by day the 
heat of the sun, have power to stir up the dampness of the low places 
and draw this to a height in the same way as it draws the clouds and 
calls up their moisture from the expanses of the sea. A 56 r. 

Of the opinion held by some that the water of some seas is higher 
than the highest summits of the mountains and that the water was 
driven up to these summits: 

Water will not move from one spot to another unless to seek a lower 
level, and in the natural course of its current it will never be able to 


return to an elevation equal to that of the spot whence it first issued 
forth from the mountains and came into the light. That part of the sea 
which by an error of imagination you state to have been so high as to 
have flowed over the summits of the high mountains for so many 
centuries, would be consumed and poured out in the water that has 
issued from these same mountains. You can well imagine that during 
all the time that the Tigris and the Euphrates have flowed from the 
summits of the Armenian mountains, 1 one may suppose the whole of 
the water of the ocean to have passed a great many times through their 

Or do you not believe that the Nile has discharged more water into 
the sea than is at present contained in all the watery element? Surely 
this is the case. If then this water had fallen away from the body of the 
earth, the whole mechanism would long since have been without water. 
So therefore, one may conclude that the water passes from the rivers to 
the sea, and from the sea to the rivers, ever making the self-same round, 
and that all the sea and the rivers have passed through the mouth of the 
Nile an infinite number of times. A 56 r and v. 


Water which falls from a height into other water imprisons within 
itself a certain quantity of air, and this through the force of the blow 
becomes submerged with it. Then with swift movement it rises up 
again and arrives at the surface which it has quitted, clothed with a fine 
veil of moisture spherical in form, and proceeds by circles away from 
the spot where it first struck. Or the water which falls down upon other 
water runs away from the spot where it strikes, in various different 
branches, bifurcating and mingling and interlacing one with another; 
and some, being hollow, are dashed back upon the surface of the water; 
and so great is the force of the weight, and of the shock caused by this 
water, that through its extreme swiftness the air is unable to escape into 
its own element, but on the contrary is submerged in the manner that 
I have stated above. 

1 Text is not dc monti eruini, as given in M. Ravaisson-Mollien's transcript, but dc 
mCti crmjnj (dc monti ermini)* as given by Dr. Richter. 


The movement of water tends always to wear away its support; and 
the part which is the softest offers the least resistance, and as it vacates 
its place it leaves various hollows in which the water, whirling round 
in divers eddies, wears away and hollows out and increases these 
chasms, and striking against the newly-bared dikes leaps back and 
strikes upon the banks, consuming and eating away and destroying 
whatever stands in its path, changing its course in the midst of the 
havoc it has made, dragging with it in its course the lightest of the soil 
and then depositing it in the parts that are more tranquil. As it raises 
its bed the quantity and force of the water is lessened and its fury is 
transferred to the opposite side, and when it reaches the bank it eats it 
away and lays its foundations bare until with great destruction it has 
uncovered new ground. If it should find a plain it covers it, and carry- 
ing away and hollowing out it forms a new bed, and if it should come 
upon buried stones it uncovers them and lays them bare- But it often 
happens that these, because of their size, make resistance to the 
impetuous flood, and so after being driven against the rocks that are 
in the middle of its course it leaps back towards the opposite side, break- 
ing and destroying the opposite bank. A 59 r - 


Water which falls in the manner stated does not enlarge its pit, fo> 
as the fact of it falling perpendicularly shows, there is but little force in 
the water that drives it from behind, and this is why it falls all broken 
and in fine spray almost in a perpendicular line. And the air which is 
amidst this broken water having an almost equal weight above it cannot 
escape so quickly as not to be submerged by the weight together with 
the blow. But, since air cannot be disunited from its element without 
violence, after yielding to the fury of the blow and the weight, it rises 
again quickly and returns to the surface in round bubbles near to the 
spot that was struck, and so as it does not move any distance from this 
spot it does not cause any damage to the banks of the pit. But when the 


rushing river, swollen by recent rains, scours its banks, it falls in fury 
into the lower waters, and no longer as formerly descending peacefully 
in a shower mingled with air upon the other water but united and 
strong, strikes and tears open the smitten depths right down to their 
rocky bed, uncovering and carrying away the buried stones, setting up 
for itself a new barrier in the shingle carried from the pit which it has 
made it throws itself upon it and falls back beaten, and divides at the 
blow into two different streams which separate and form half-circles, 
devouring and consuming every obstacle and enlarging their bed in the 
form of a circle. 

To put it more exactly when the rivers are in flood, the falls of the 
water are less abrupt, and therefore, as the mass of water strikes the 
lower levels, the water which follows the blow does not hasten with 
the violence of that which falls, and this being the case it oilers resist- 
ance and thus offering resistance the water rises and the fall becomes 
shorten In consequence it does not imprison so much air, because the 
lower parts of the water are hardly separated from the rest in its fall 
and, owing to this, very little air can enter, and therefore the blow and 
weight of the water meet with no resistance, and the blow proceeds 
without diminishment right down to the bottom, displacing the gravel 
that is there and surrounding and clothing the stones with itself and 
increasing the depth of the pools. A 59 r. and v. 


The reason is that in the beds of rivers there are always found stones 
of different sizes, and as the water, coming to the largest, sinks down 
behind them and smites the spot on which it falls, the blow dislodges 
the lesser stones from the spot on which it strikes, and the bed is made 
larger. As the fall increases it becomes more powerful and hollows out 
even more the pit which has been begun; and this occurs because the 
rivers constantly gnaw the mud of their bed and constantly uncover 
and lay bare rocks of different forms and sizes. 



The reason of this is that just as a pair of stockings which cover the 
legs reveal what is hidden beneath them, so the part of the water which 
lies on the surface reveals the nature of its base, inasmuch as that part 
of the water which bathes its base, finding there certain protrusions 
caused by the stones, strikes upon them and leaps up raising with it all 
the other water which flows above it. A 59 v. 




The reason of this is that the water which strikes this rock afterwards 
descends and makes a kind of pit, in which in its course it searches for 
the hollow and then leaps back to a height and again falls down to the 
bottom and does the same, so continuing many times, like a ball that is 
thrown on the ground which before it finishes its course makes many 
bounds each smaller than the one before it. 


All the movements of the wind resemble those of the water. 

Universally all things desire to maintain themselves in their natural 
state. So moving water strives to maintain the course pursuant to the 
power which occasions it, and if it finds an obstacle in its path it com- 
pletes the span of the course it has commenced, by a circular and revolv- 
ing movement. 

So when water pours out of a narrow channel and descends with fury 
into the slow-moving currents of mighty seas since in the greater bulk 
there is greater power, and greater power offers resistance to the lesser- 
in this case, the water descending upon the sea beats down upon its 
slow-moving mass, and this cannot make a place for it with sufficient 
speed because it is held up by the rest of the water; and so the water 
that descends, not being willing to slacken its course, turns round after 
it has struck, and continues its first movement in circling eddies, and so 


fulfils its desire down in the depth; for in these same eddies it finds 
nothing more than its own movement, which is attended by a suc- 
cession o circles one within the other; and by thus revolving in circles 
its course becomes longer and more continuous, because it meets with 
no obstacle except itself; and this motion eats away and consumes the 
banks, and they fall headlong in ruin. . . , A 60 r. 


The reason of this is that, if the circles which above are large become 
reduced to a point as they are submerged, and then continue their 
movement in the direction in which it began, the water will at the 
bottom make a movement contrary to that above when it separates 
itself from its centre. 

Although the sounds which traverse the air proceed from their 
sources by circular movements, nevertheless the circles which are pro- 
pelled by their different motive powers meet together without any 
hindrance and penetrate and pass across one another, keeping always 
their causes as their centres. 

Since, in all cases of movement, water has great conformity with air, 
I will oflfer it as an example of the above-mentioned proposition. I say 
that, if at the same time you throw two small stones into a large lake of 
still water at a certain distance one from another, you will observe two 
distinct sets of circles form round the two points where they have 
struck; and as these sets of circles grow larger they come to meet 
together and the circles intersect one with another, always keeping as 
their centres the spots which were struck by the stones. The reason of 
this is that although some show of movement may be visible there, the 
water does not depart from its place because the openings made there 
by the stones are instantly closed; and the movement occasioned by the 
sudden opening and closing of the water makes a certain shaking 
which one would define as a quivering rather than a movement. That 
what I say may be more evident to you, just consider those pieces of 
straw which on account of their lightness float on the surface of the 
water and are not moved from their position by the wave that rolls 
beneath them as the circles widen. This disturbance of the water, there- 


fore, being a quivering rather than a movement, the circles cannot 
break one another as they meet, for, as all the parts of water are of a 
like substance, it follows that these parts transmit the quivering from 
one to another without changing their place, for, as the water remains 
in its position, it can easily take this quivering from the parts near to it 
and pass it on to other parts near to it, its force meanwhile steadily 
decreasing until the end. A 61 r. 

The winding courses of the water caused by the rebounds of the 
percussions which they make against the banks will cause the bed of the 
river below them to be more hollowed out than any other part; and in 
their percussions they will become of great depth; and the water that is 
whirled round near to these deep places will serve to undermine and 
destroy the banks against which it strikes. 

One both clearly sees and recognises that the waters which strike the 
banks of the rivers act in the same way as balls which, when they are 
struck against walls, rebound from these at angles similar to those at 
which they strike, and proceed to strike against the opposite sides of the 
walls. So these waters after having first struck against the one bank, 
leap back towards the opposite one and strike upon it and hollow it out 
with vigour, because there is a greater confluence of water in this spot. 
The reason of this is that the water which leaps back from one bank to 
another hollows out that part of the bed of the river which finds itself 
beneath it; and the other water of the river which cannot be received in 
this low part remains repulsed and thrown back somewhat by the direct 
course of the river. And having no way of escape, it returns to its 
natural course, that is, that, as the bed of the river finds itself lower 
under the winding ways made by the above-mentioned percussions of 
the waters, this second water, which has lost its adventitious means of 
escape, resumes its natural course, falls into the lower parts of the river 
and strikes the banks at the same spot as that which witnessed the per- 
cussion of the aforesaid rebounds. As this bank is thus assailed by two 
entirely different sets of percussions a larger hollow is caused in it, for, 
while the first strike the bank above, the others descending more 
steeply devour and lay it bare at its base, and this is the cause of the 
aforesaid destruction and subsidence of the banks. A 63 v. 



No part of the watery element will raise itself or make itself more 
distant from the common centre except by violence. No violence is last- 
ing, c 15 r. 


This is because [confined] water when struck by a blow cannot make 
its impetus pass from circle to circle as it would in a great lake; and 
since the water when struck finds near to itself the edges of the bucket, 
which are harder and more resisting than the other water, it cannot 
expand itself, and consequently it comes about that the whole of its 
impetus is turned upwards; and therefore water struck by a stone 
throws its drops up higher when its waves are confined than when they 
have a wide space. c 22 r. 

f Of the motion of water] 

Water or anything falling upon water causes the water that receives 
the blow to spread itself out beneath the blow and to surround it, and 
having passed over the cause of this blow it continues above it in pyra- 
midal shape and then falls back to the common level. 

The reason of this is that when a drop of water falls from a roof 
upon other water, the part that receives the blow cannot find room or 
escape within the rest of the water with the speed with which it has 
been attacked, because it would be necessary for it to support too much 
weight in order to enter under so great a quantity of water. Having 
therefore to obey its own course as well as the action of that which 
drives it from its place, and finding that as the adjacent water does not 
receive the blow and is not ready for a similar flight it cannot penetrate 
it, it seeks instead the shortest way and flows through the substance 
that offers it less resistance, namely the air. 

And as this first circle that surrounds the place which has been struck 
closes up with fury, because it was raised above the common surface of 
the water, it reduces the water that escapes upwards to the form of a 


And if you think that the water which falls was the same as that 
which leaps up, make a small stone drop into the water and you will 
see the water leap up in the same way and not the stone. c 22 v. 

Every part of water within other water that is without movement 
lies equally at rest with that situated at the same level. 

Here experience shows that if there were a lake of very great size 
which lay without movement of wind either entering or departing, and 
if you were to remove a very small part of the height of the bank which 
is below the surface of the water, all the water that is above the top of 
the bank that was cut away will pass through this cutting, but will not 
set in movement or draw with it out of the lake any part of the water 
that lay there before this water moved and went away. 

In this instance nature is constrained by the workings of its law 
which lives infused within it, namely, that all the parts of that surface 
of the waters which are supported by the banks without any opening or 
exit are situated at an equal distance from the centre of the earth. 

c 23 v. 


Know that stones are rolled over by water because this water either 
surrounds or flows over them. If it surrounds them it meets again 
beyond them and intersects, hollowing out the soil or sand beyond the 
stone, and this after being thus laid bare begins to roll of itself. And if 
the water flows over the stone, then after it has done so it falls in the 
same line, and by the force of its impetus penetrates from the surface to 
the base of the other water, and gnaws and tugs and drags away the 
stone from the opposing obstacles with the result that this also begins 
to roll, and so continues from place to place until it traverses the whole 
river. And if a lesser stone should stand in its path the water uncovers 
it by the same process and does the same, and in this way stones are 
rolled over in the beds of flowing rivers. c 24 v. 

A horse or man or any other creature that makes its way through 
stagnant water of medium depth will cause this water to rise and cover 


a quantity of the shore towards which this creature is directing its 

This may be clearly demonstrated; for if you take a step in this water 
you will find that it makes a wave which directs its course and moves 
in the same direction as that in which the creature is travelling; nor 
does it pause until it has achieved its desire and covered a small part of 
the shore. 

A second step creates another wave which has a similar result, and 
the same with the third and all the steps; each of itself creating a wave 
that travels as far as the shore, in such a way that this shore which 
formerly was uncovered finds itself covered by water over a great dis- 
tance then when you have emerged from this water you will see it 
returning to its former position in swift course. c 25 r. 

Waves of rivers that flow against the courses of the winds will be of 
greater height than others. 

The rivers that move against the courses of the winds will have a 
greater current below than above, as their surface on being driven by 
the winds becomes slower than it was at first. 

The reason of this is that if the rivers, being of equal depth and 
breadth, are of uniform current at the bottom and on the surface, the 
resistance made by the wind to the current on the surface must neces- 
sarily cause it to turn back, and as it does not suffice these waves to 
raise themselves a little, falling at last they enter underneath the others 
and proceed to the bottom. Finding there the other current of the bot- 
tom it accompanies it, and as the bank is not capable of containing this 
increase it is necessary that at the bottom the current doubles itself; if 
it were not so one would see the water rising far above the banks of the 
rivers. c 25 v. 

The stone placed in the level and smooth beds of flowing rivers 
becomes the cause of their inequality and deterioration. 

When an object which is dropping down strikes upon another object 
harder than itself it suddenly makes a rebound which is so much 
greater as it has had a greater fall. When therefore a stone is situated 
beneath the surface of running rivers, the greater its size the greater is 
the percussion that takes place when water falls from its summit upon 


the beds of the rivers, and on account of this it comes to produce a 
deeper hollow in the place struck by this water. 

After this first percussion many rebounds will follow, and these will 
become larger in size and less powerful as they are farther removed 
from the first. 

The embankment which sends forth the trunk of the tree that it has 
nourished, to project into the waves of the rapid rivers, will become the 
cause of the destruction of the opposite bank. 

The cause of this effect is that the water that flows in the rivers 
always goes leaping from bank to bank. If nothing projects in this bank 
many lines of water gather there and unite together and leap in a mass 
on the opposite bank, and twist themselves in with the other lines 
which they meet with on their way; and having reached the embank- 
ment they gnaw and destroy it. And there are yet new lines produced 
there which leap back and damage the other bank; and so from place 
to place they begin to form eddies of varying depths, and hence it 
comes about that straight rivers become winding and crooked. 

c 26 r. 


Of the four elements water is the second least heavy and the second 
in respect of mobility. It is never at rest until it unites with its maritime 
element, where, when not disturbed by the winds, it establishes itself 
and remains with its surface equidistant from the centre of the world. 
It is the increase and humour of all vital bodies. Without it nothing 
retains its first form. It unites and augments bodies by its increase. 

Nothing lighter than itself can penetrate it without violence. 

It readily raises itself by heat in thin vapour through the air. Cold 
causes it to freeze. Stagnation make it foul. That is, heat sets it in move- 
ment, cold causes it to freeze, immobility corrupts it. 

It assumes every odour, colour and flavour, and of itself it has noth- 
ing. It percolates through all porous bodies. Against its fury no 
human defence avails, or if it should avail it is not for long. In its rapid 
course it often serves as a support to things heavier than itself. It can lift 
itself up by movement or bound as far as it sinks down. It submerges 
with itself in headlong course things lighter than itself. The mastery 


of its course is sometimes on the surface, sometimes in the centre, 
sometimes at the bottom. One portion rises over the transverse course 
of another, and but for this the surfaces of the running waters would 
be without undulations. Every small obstacle whether on its bank or in 
its bed will be the cause of the falling away of the bank or bed opposite 
to it. When the water is low it does more damage to the bank in its 
course than it does when it flows in full stream. Its parts do not weigh 
upon the parts placed beneath them. No river will ever keep its course 
in the same direction between its banks. Its upper parts do not impart 
weight to the lower. 

I An experiment] 


I wish to show you in what manner water can be supported by air 
while being divided and separated from it. Certainly if you have reason 
in you, I believe that you will not deny that if there be a leather bag 
placed at the bottom of the water in a well, so as to touch all its sides, 
in such a way that the water cannot pass beneath, if this leather bag be 
filled with air it will not exert less force in rising to the surface of the 
water to find the other air than the water makes in its desire to touch 
the bottom of the well. And if this leather bag desires to rise up it will 
push up the water that is placed above it, and by raising this water it 
will take its weight from off the bottom of the well! For this reason 
therefore it is almost as though the well were bottomless. 

Where and why the movement of the water ought to hollow out the 
sand of the surface of the beds of flowing rivers but to speak first of 
the percussion on the surface: 

The more rapid the current of the water along the slope of a smooth 
canal the more powerful will be its percussion against whatever opposes 

For all the elements when removed from their natural position desire 
to return to it, especially fire, water and earth; and the shorter the line 
along which this return is made, the straighter its course, and the 
straighter its course the greater the percussion upon whatever opposes 


The same effect is produced by the wind blowing through streets 
of uniform width. c 26 v - 


Define first of all what is height and depth, also how the elements are 
situated one within the other. Then what is solid weight and liquid 
weight; but first of all what weight and lightness consist of in them- 
selves. Then describe why water moves, and why its motion ceases; 
then why it becomes slower or more rapid, and in addition to this how 
it continually descends when in contact with air that is lower than 
itself; and how the water rises in the air through the heat of the sun 
and then falls back in rain. Further, why the water springs from the 
summits of the mountains, and whether any spring of water higher 
than the ocean can pour forth water higher than the surface of this 
ocean; and how all the water that returns to the ocean is higher than 
the sphere of the water: and how the water of the equinoctial seas is 
higher than the northern waters, and is higher beneath the body of the 
sun than in any other part of the circle of the equator; for when the 
experiment is made under the heat of a burning brand, the water boils 
as the effect of the brand, and the water around the centre of where 
it boils descends in a circular wave. And how the waters of the north 
are lower than the other seas, and more so as they become colder, until 
they are changed into ice. E 12 r. 


That river which stretches itself out most by long tortuous windings 
is the one which becomes filled up most rapidly with matter. This is 
proved by the twelfth, which says: the water that loiters most dis- 
charges most rapidly the matter that it carries. Therefore the river 
which by meandering more makes itself longer by means of its twists 
and turns makes itself so much slower in proportion as it makes itself 
longer. E 66 v. 

Of the difference that exists between the accidents of water and 
the accidents of air and fire: 

Water is not capable in itself of being either condensed or rarefied, 
but it exists in as great quantity in front of the fish that penetrates it as 


behind it, and it opens itself up as much in front of that which pene- 
trates it as it closes up behind this penetrating thing. And the impetus 
of the fish is of briefer duration than that of the bird in the air, 
although the muscles of the bird are very powerful in relation to their 
quantity; because the fish is all muscle and this is very necessary 
because it is in a heavier substance than the air. But although the water 
is not itself capable of being condensed it is of a nature to acquire 
gravity and levity. It acquires gravity at the destruction of the impetus 
which raises it in the air at the creation of the wave, and levity by the 
creation of the impetus that lightens the water and causes it to move 
contrary to the natural course of heavy things. 


The valley interposed between the waves is lower than the general 
surface of the water, as one sees when the water turns back in order to 
fill up the places that have been struck by the water-spouts. 

E 71 v. 


Of those that take up the whole of this height and of the moving and 
the fixed. Of the long and the round. Of those that change their move- 
ment and those that divide, and those that become merged in those 
[eddies] to which they unite themselves, and those that are mingled 
with the falling and reflex water and make it spin around. 

Which are the eddies that cause light things to whirl round on the 
surface and do not submerge them? Which are those that submerge 
them and cause them to spin round upon the bottom and then deposit 
them upon this bottom? Which are those that separate the things from 
the bottom and throw them back to the surface of the water? Which 
are the slanting eddies, which are the straight, which are the shallow? 

F 2 r. 



When you put together the science of the movements of water 
remember to put beneath each proposition its applications, so that such 
science may not be without its uses. 

Of the usefulness of the courses that the swimmer ought to follow 
with regard to the surface revolutions of the waters and as to their 
eddies which submerge these swimmers. Then how he ought to direct 
himself when submerged in order to save himself, and so forth. 

And at the end of each book notice the things that are most remark- 
able, as how to break through the thickness of the eddies in any direc- 
tion. Of what measures one ought to take when swimming in a 
rough sea, and how to avoid being dashed against the rocks and on the 
rudders of ships. F 2 v. 

Of the things carried by the water, that will make the greatest 
revolution which is of least size: 

This happens because the great revolutions of eddies are infrequent 
in the currents of rivers and the small eddies are almost numberless, 
and large objects are only turned round by large eddies and not by 
small ones, whereas small objects revolve both in small eddies and 

Of objects equal in length and breadth carried by the current of the 
waters, those will make fewest revolutions which are deepest. 

This happens because these revolutions vary greatly from the surface 
to the bottom of the water, in which as many revolutions are produced 
as there is depth to cause them. Wherefore of necessity an object borne 
by the water when it buries itself deeply is buffeted by many revolu- 
tions at different degrees of altitude; and for this reason it remains in 
a state of hesitance and many times obeys none or if it obeys then it 
obeys the most powerful. 

Of objects equal in shape and size, that which is buried deepest will 
obey least the revolutions of the water. F 3 r. 

Book ten. Of the different recesses and roundnesses that exist in 
reservoirs, before the exits of the water from these reservoirs, with the 


varying rates of speed, sizes, depths and breadths; and the shapes of the 
holes, high or low, wide or narrow; and the walls thick or thin. 

F 4 v. 

Book nine. Of the water that passes through a reservoir, of which 
the walls are full of holes of various sizes, shapes and positions, at dif- 
ferent heights, varying from the entrance to the exit and conversely; 
and so also the reservoir of different shapes, depths, lengths, and 
breadths; and the water more or less powerful and swift, great and 
small. F 5 r. 

The flow and ebb is double in the same sheet of water, because it 
will be many times at the mouth of this sheet of water before there is 
a decrease in the great sheet of water; this occurs because the wave of 
the first flow runs strongly in the sheet of water, and during the time 
when this wave follows its impetus that at the mouth makes its ebb. 
Before the wave, penetrating into the neck, feels the ebb at this mouth 
of the sheet of water g a, the flow starts again at this mouth, and in this 
time the wave, which has penetrated into the neck, pauses, slackening 
its impetus in proportion as the second penetration by the second wave 
begins afresh. Thus so many of these waves enter the neck that the 
sheet of water is raised and its waters come back with impetus behind 
the ebb that recedes from this mouth, and [this ebb] does not pene- 
trate farther in the third or fourth wave, so that the first water is not 
thrust out of the entrance. F 6 v. 

In the big wide eddies, the water raises and uncovers the soil heaped 
up in its centre. 

In the small eddies of water, the water bores down and makes a 
hollow in the centre of the eddy. 

Of objects borne by the water upon its bed, the lighter makes a 
longer path in the same time. 

A river does not remain uniform, for after the current it unloads 
shingle, and after this it produces another current, of which the move- 
ment is directed either to the bank or the centre or to as many different 
spots as there are different slopes of the mounds of shingle left at the 
bottom by the aforesaid currents. F 7 r. 

The depth of the sheet of water which receives the fall of the water 


will always have the shape of a quarter of a hollow sphere, if the soil be 

of uniform resistance. 

And this arises out of what has gone before, where it is stated that the 
straight course of the water is higher and swifter in the middle than on 
the sides; and the greater speed sends its fall more forward than does 
the slower speed. ... F 7 v. 

Given the depth of the fall of the water and its slant, with the power 
of the wheel that is its object, one seeks the height of the fall of this 
water in order to make itself equal to the power of the wheel. 

The water that strikes upon the objects sometimes leaps up con- 
siderably, sometimes only a little, and sometimes it descends, and this 
arises from the objects being small or large, or the descent in front of 
these objects being greater or less, or from the current that strikes these 
objects being more or less powerful. F 8 v. 


Why the eddies of the water are hollowed in the centre by their 

Why the impressions produced on the surface of the water will main- 
tain themselves for some time, on being carried by the course of the 

Why the movements of the impressions of the waters penetrate each 
other without change of their first shape. 

Rule as to the measurements of water and what breadth, depth, and 
rapidity of movement a given space of current ought to have in a given 

Given the resistance of a wheel and given the slant and descent in 
the fall of the water, one asks how great must its volume be to be 
equal to the said resistance. 

Given the volume of the fall of the water and its length and slant, 
one asks whether the power of the wheel is equal to this power of the 

Given the resistance o the wheel and the slant of the water and its 
volume, one asks the length of the fall. * 9 r. 



Water that pours out through the same-sized mouth may vary in 
extent in a greater or less degree in [various] ways, of which the first is 
that the surface of the water may be either a greater or less distance 
above the mouth through which it pours, the second that the water 
passes with greater or less speed beyond the bank where this mouth is 
made, the third that the side below the thickness of the mouth where 
the water passes may be either more or less slanting, the fourth in the 
variety of slant of the sides of this mouth, fifth in the thickness of the 
lip of this mouth, sixth as to the shape of the mouth, that is whether it 
be round or square, or rectangular or elongated, seventh according as 
this mouth is placed at a greater or less slant of bank in its length, 
eighth as this mouth is placed in a greater or less slant of bank in its 
height, ninth according as it is situated in the concave or convex parts 
of the bank, tenth as it may be placed towards the greater or less width 
of the canal, eleventh if the top of the canal has more speed at the top 
of the mouth or more slowness than elsewhere, twelfth if the bed have 
round bosses and hollows opposite to this mouth or higher or lower, 
thirteenth according to whether the water that passes through this 
mouth takes the wind or not, fourteenth if the water that falls out of 
this mouth falls through the air shut in on one side or on all except the 
front, fifteenth as the water that falls thus enclosed is deep within its 
vessel or shallow, sixteenth whether the enclosed water which falls 
makes a long fall or a short one; seventeenth whether the sides of the 
canal where this water descends are hollow or protuberant or straight 
or curving. * 9 v. 

Of the eddies of water which frequently turn their revolving move- 
ment backwards: 

Of the falling and the reflex eddies. The eddy sometimes grows in 
power and diminishes in diameter, and sometimes diminishes in 
strength and increases in diameter. 

The first movement is when the water flows away by its base, as the 
water that forms the eddy becomes swifter when it is lower, because 
it has a greater weight of water above it and therefore becomes swifter; 


and because the water pushes downwards more than upwards it 
restricts this void in the eddy more and more; and it bends because it 
directs itself to whether the sheet of water has its outlet. F 12 r. 

Water with an uneven bed makes contrary movements from the sur- 
face to the bed. The unevenness in the beds of rivers springs from the 
bends in the banks or from substances that have fallen from these banks 
to their feet. * I2 v - 


When the hand is turned in circular movement in a vase half-filled 
with water it causes an accidental eddy which will expose the bottom of 
this vase to the air, and when its motive power is at rest this eddy will 
follow the same movement but it will diminish continually until the 
end of the impetus imparted to it by its motive power. F 13 r. 


The eddy with the deeper hollow will be that produced in water of 
swifter movement. 

And that eddy will have a smaller hollow if it is produced in deeper 
water which has not the same movement but is slower. 

And with water of equal speed that will keep a larger hollow where 
a greater depth of water turns with its movement. 

This is said because many times the eddies are produced in a straight 
current in a great expanse of slowly moving water; and as this water is 
partly supported by the eddy which revolves in a thin coil between it 
and the air of the hollow, this lateral water being of great weight 
pushes upon the sides of the eddy where it is leaning and finding them 
weak compresses them. v 13 v. 

[Of eddies] 

If water higher than air acquires weight, as is shown in the seventh 
of the ninth, why is it that the water of the sides of the eddies is higher 
than the bottom of the eddy which up to this point is full of air. 

You have the fourth of die seventh which proves that every heavy 
substance is only of weight along the line of its movement and in no 
other direction; and here you see very deep eddies after the manner of 


great pits in rivers, the sides of which are of water, which is every- 
where higher than the air of this eddy; and these banks of water are 
without weight except by this line of their movement, during the time 
in which they possess the strength given them by their motive power. 

What produces eddies and why some are hollow at the centre and 
others are not. 

Whether water poured into the hollow of eddies would fill them 
or no, or would escape by the bottom and enter into the current at the 

Which natural eddies are of considerable depth and which of slight 
depth; which change their position and which do not move; which 
while moving turn in an opposite direction and which keep their move- 
ment in one direction; which become duplicated and which do not; 
which unite in contrary movements. F 14 v. 


Write first of the simple hollows made by the simple falls of water 
upon a bed of a uniform substance, and then upon a bed of various 
substances. Then with obstacles placed in the course that the water takes 
in its descent, then with obstacles in the place where it has struck, that 
is, upon its bed; then in its reflex movement, and first at the beginning 
of its fall. Then describe in what part of the edge of the sheet of water 
this water will take its course; and what substances will be carried away 
or deposited in different parts of the bed of this sheet of water; and 
what will be the speed or slowness of movement of the water in various 
parts of the surface, and so also from the surface to the bottom at 
various depths and breadths; and thus you will do as far as the bottom. 

F 15 v. 
[Movements of water] 

Of the parts of the same water that rises through the air at different 
angles, that which has least slant falls back nearer to where it started. 

The rising motions of the water which it makes from the bottom to 
the surface of the sheet of water will never fall back towards the bofc 
torn, because not entering into the air and not acquiring weight they 
cannot penetrate to the bottom, by the seventh of the ninth. 

The water always rises and descends with a disconnected movement 


of speed, and this is caused by the air that it penetrates and the air that 
is mingled with it. F 16 v - 


It is possible for there to be less depth underneath the current than 
before it or on the sides. 

Let o c n be the current and a an eddy of double strength according 
to the ninth concerning eddies. Since in addition to its revolution it 
strikes against the bank and leaps up into the air, and falling back upon 
the rest of the water penetrates it and strikes and hollows out the bed in 
sudden chasm, for, in addition to the force of the blow, there is joined 
the spiral drilling made by the aforesaid revolution, by means of which 
what has been shaken by the blow is stirred up and carried away; and 
it becomes more powerful as it is more turbid. 

And this is the most powerful method that can be made use of in 
order to dislodge and carry away the soil and so create a great chasm. 

Beneath the current the bed will become raised when the course of 
this current dies in stagnant water. 

By the sixth of the ninth where the course of the water fails, there 
remains that which the water has brought. F 17 v. 

Of a volume of water that has struck upon an object, the lower part 
is the first to strike the bottom and it is instantly reflected to the 
surface. That which is in the middle does not descend to the bottom, 
but encountering the first part reflected it strikes upon it, and is 
knocked and so it also is bent back in the same lines and revolutions. 

And the two bodies of water when the lower encounters the higher 
unite and revolve together at their contact. 

Of the water that falls into other water that which is nearest the 
centre of the fall slants most and that nearest the extremities is the 
straightest. i- 18 v. 


When water strikes other water at a considerable angle the part 
which strikes first is immediately bent back and delays, and that which 
succeeds to it veils it with a thin covering and runs swiftly upon that 
which first slackens and so it is then bent and slackens at the same 


spot as the foregoing. And the water that follows does the same upon 
it, and so in succession each new wave follows its course. 

The turbid running water, if it is high at its start and at its entry 
into the sheet of water, flows for a considerable distance at the height 
of its first impetus before it buries itself or becomes mingled with the 
other water. F 19 v. 

Definition of the half-cylindrical wave and what part of its volume 
has a greater or less slant, and how it commences and ends, and where 
it is more or less wide or more or less high or I would say deep; and the 
differences that there are in it when it is large or small or swift or slow. 

The waters flow one above another without mingling for a long 
space, when their entrance in the sheet of water is higher and swifter 
in the one case than in the other. F 20 r. 

Where the water has only slight movement the half-cylindrical waves 
will keep their direction when they intersect. 

Where it is swifter they will curve. 

And where the rates of speed are unequal their curves will vary 
towards the end. F 20 v. 

Of the eddies one is slower at the centre than on the sides, another 
is swifter at the centre than on the sides; others there are which turn 
back in the opposite direction to their first movement. 

That eddy is slower at the centre than on the sides which makes a 
great revolution, and this deposits a considerable quantity of matter in 
the centre of its circle and leaves it in the form of a mound. 

The eddy which is swift at the centre of its revolution carries air and 
water in its base, which it hollows out and bores down after the fash- 
ion of a well. F 21 r. 

Every impression of the water is maintained over a long space and 
this is so much the longer as it is swifter. 

Write of the things worthy of remark that are found in water; and 
what revolutions they make when they are of different shapes and the 
water makes different revolutions. F 21 v. 

Of the different rates of speed of currents from the surface of water 
to the bottom. 


Of the different cross slants between the surface and the bottom. 

Of the different currents on the surface of the waters. 

Of the different currents on the bed of the rivers. 

Of the different depths of the rivers. 

Of the different shapes of the hills covered by the waters. 

Of the different shapes of the hills uncovered by the waters. 

Where the water is swift at the bottom and not above. Where the 
water is slow at the bottom and swift above. 

Where it is slow below and above and swift in the middle. Where it 
is slow in the middle and swift below and above. 

Where the water in the rivers stretches itself out and where it con- 
tracts. Where it bends and where it straightens itself. 

Where it penetrates evenly in the expanses of rivers and where 
unevenly. Where it is low in the middle and high at the sides. 

Where it is high in the middle and low at the sides. 

Where the current goes straight in the middle of the stream. Where 
the current winds, throwing itself on to different sides. 

Of the different slants in the descents of the water. F 23 v. 


Of the waters that cross at different angles in their reflex move- 
ments, and of those that cross on the summits of the waves; those that 
cross the descending wave and those that cross in the trough of the 

Some cross at different angles, great reflex movement with small 
reflex movement, and similarly a great wave with a small one, or fall- 
ing movement with that in the valley or with reflex movement, small 
with large. 

Sometimes there is reflex with falling movement, sometimes valley 
with wave, sometimes falling movement with reflex, small and large, 
and at different angles. 

Sometimes rapid waters with slow, sometimes eddies with waves or 
valleys or reflexes, or the falling movements of water flowing along 
different lines crossing one another. 

Courses by different lines one above the other. 


Eddies with different movements which have to meet and enter into 
one another. 

Lengths of different curves of eddies from the surface of the water 
to its bed as they intersect one another. 

Intersection of falling and reflex eddies. 

Of the waters that are interposed in any direction between the said 
accidents of the waters. * 24 r. 

[BooJ(s of the Treatise on Water} 

Book nine of the shapes of the eddies. 

Book ten of the action of the eddies. 

Book eleven of things that aid the eddies. 

Book twelve of things that injure the eddies. 

Book thirteen of the percussions of the waters one with another as 
they leap up within the air at different rates of speed. 

Book of the waters that spring up within the air at different angles 
and with the same speed. 

Book of the waters that spring up within the air and the different 

Water more slanting, striking that less slanting and more powerful 
and less deep. 

Water less deep and more slanting and more powerful than the 
deeper and less slanting. 

Shallow water driven through the air by greater power than the 
deeper water. F 24 v. 

Of the waters falling through the air which intersect with various 
depths and lengths of movement and power. 

The reflex movement will never be of the height of the beginning 
of the falling movement unless it strikes as does the wave on the rock 
of the sea. * 25 r. 

[Of the waves\ 

In proportion as the waves of the sea are higher than the ordinary 
height of the surface of its water, so the bottoms of the valleys that lie 
between the waves are lower; and this is due to the fact that the grear 
fall of the great waves creates the great hollows of the valleys. 

TP 25 V. 



Here follows the proof of what is said on the opposite page: 

I say that no part of the surface of water moves of itself unless it 
descends, therefore as the sphere of water has not the power to descend 
in any part of its surface, it follows from the first conception that it 
does not move of itself. And if you carefully consider each minute 
particle of this surface you will find it surrounded by other similar 
particles which are at an equal distance between them from the centre 
of the earth, and at the same distance from this centre is that particle 
which is surrounded by them; therefore, by the third conception, that 
particle of the water will not move of itself because it is surrounded by 
edges of equal height. And thus every circle formed of such particles 
makes itself a vessel for the particles enclosed within this circle, which 
vessel has the circle formed by its edges of equal height; and in this 
respect this particle resembles all the other similar ones of which the 
surface of the sphere of the water is composed. Of necessity it will be 
without movement of itself, and in consequence each being at equal 
height from the centre of the world, necessity makes their surface 
spherical, but it is not necessary that they should be spherical below, as 
reason and experience show. 

That which is said of the surface of the water that borders on the air 
is understood to be said of the surface of the air that borders on the 
fire, which would be such as often to evaporate after the manner of 
clouds drawn by the heat of the sun, as does the water drawn through 
the air by the same heat in the form of clouds; and in the same way 
the fire drawn by a greater heat than its own, that is to say by the sun, 
it being proved in the sixth that it is warm by essence and not by 
virtue, as many would have it. 

So having proved by the testimony of these spheres that the flexible 
elements are spherical, it is my purpose to investigate nature both in its 
universal aspect and in the particulars of each of its elements, and first 
of fire, then of air, and then of water. p 26 v* 

Book thirty-two. Of the movement that fire makes when it pene- 
trates the water at the bottom of the boiler: 
It runs bubbling to the surface of this water by different ways and 


according to the movements that the water makes when struck by the 
penetration of the fire. By means of this experiment you can investigate 
the hot vapours which are exhaled from the earth and pass through the 
water, twisting themselves about because the water checks their move- 
ment, vapours which afterwards penetrate through the air in straighter 

And this experiment you will make with a square glass vessel, keep- 
ing your eye at about the centre of one of these walls; and in the 
boiling water with slow movement you may drop a few grains of 
panic-grass because by means of the movement of these grains you can 
quickly know the movement of the water that carries them with it. 
And from this experiment you will be able to proceed to investigate 
many beautiful movements which result from one element penetrating 
into another. F 34 v. 


The water that falls from the cloud is sometimes dissolved into such 
minute particles that by reason of the friction that it has with the air it 
cannot divide the air but seems to change itself into air. Sometimes in 
descending it multiplies, because it finds the minutest particles of water 
which by reason of their lightness were of slow descent, and becomes 
incorporated with them, and at every stage of its descent acquires a new 
quantity of water. Sometimes the winds bend the rain and so cause its 
descent to be slanting, and for this reason the descent becomes slow and 
protracted, and it frequently happens that it is converted into such fine 
particles that it can no longer descend and so remains in the air. 

[Treatise on water] 

Write how the clouds are formed and how they dissolve, and what 
it is that causes vapour to rise from the water of the earth into the air, 
and the cause of mists and of the air becoming thickened, and why it 
appears more blue or less blue at one time than at another. Write in 
the same way of the regions of the air and the cause of snow and hail, 
and how water contracts and becomes hard in the form of ice, and of 
the new shapes that the snow forms in the air, and of the trees in cold 
countries with the new shapes of the leaves, and of the pinnacles of ice 
and hoar-frost that form new shapes of plants with strange leaves, the 


hoar-frost serving almost as the dew ready to nourish and sustain the 

said leaves. F 35 r * 

No surface of water that borders upon the air will ever be lower than 
that of the sea. 

The wave that the motive power makes before it in the air or be- 
tween the surface and the bed of the water is in the shape of a halt" 


The wave made by the motive power on the surface of the water is 
in the shape of a half-circle, and towards the bottom it has the shape 
of a quarter-circle. 

Why the movement made by the motive power on the surface of the 
water makes a wave before it, and does not do so when it moves be- 
tween the surface of the water and its bed. What one asks occurs 
because the water of the surface borders on the air, whereas the water 
that is between the surface of the water and its bed borders on the 
water that is above and the water that is below. F 41 r. 

Of the water that falls from the weirs of rivers, that part will have 
its straight course shut in which has the most powerful fall : 

This comes about because water with a powerful fall hollows out the 
soil of the spot on which it strikes and deposits it where its course is 
more feeble than beneath the reflex movement of the water; this as it 
moves towards the sky becomes more feeble with each degree of its 
movement until at last it loses all its power. 

And as in this reflex action its power ebbs it lets fall below it all the 
things of weight taken from the spot where it has struck, and after this 
inundation the water becomes lowered and finds itself shut in between 
the matter which it formerly carried and the bank from which it has 

Of the waters that descend in torrents from the weirs of rivers only 
that will preserve its straight course beyond this torrent of which the 
fall was feeblest and slowest. 

This happens because that which moves slowly strikes feebly, and 
therefore it follows that it only raises itself a little from the bed on 
which it strikes, and in consequence deposits but little in the reflex 
movement of the water. And this is why after this deluge the bank here 


remains low, and all the water that falls follows its course where the 
bank is lower, and consequently the straight course of all the water of 
the river will remain with the water that has a feeble fall. F 4 2 v - 

Of the things borne by the water which have part of themselves in 
the air and part in the water: 

If a thing is borne by the water being half in the water and half in 
the air, and the air moves with a speed equal to the speed of the water, 
then this movable thing will be in the first stage of swiftness of move- 

If the air is slower than the movement of the water which moves in 
the same direction as the air, the movement of the movable thing will 
be slower than if these movements of air and water were equal, and it 
will be so much slower in proportion as these movements of air and 
water are more different, 

If the movement of the air is swifter than that of the water 1 which 
moves in the same direction, then this movement of the object will be- 
come more rapid, and the more so as this air is swifter than the water. 1 

If the movement of the air against the course of the water is of equal 
speed to that of this water against the air, the movable thing will follow 
the course of the water if it has more contact with the water than with 
the air: it will do the contrary if it has more contact with the air than 
with the water. F 43 v. 

How a leaf is whirled about along different lines in the depth of the 

This movable thing revolves along different lines, high and low, 
turning itself over or not turning over, and doing the same in the 
width of the water which moves it. And this springs from the different 
movements of the water with its different slanting and eddying courses. 
Here one may place objects of different shapes, and one mil have made 
a good experiment in 2 . . . by the leaves of the trees which are borne 
in considerable quantities from the surface to the depth of the flowing 
and transparent waters. F 44 r. 

1 MS. aria. 

* Words erased in MS. 




To set forth the conditions of the waters that spring forth within the 
air and their percussions made with different degrees of power, quan- 
tity length of movements and variety of slant, I will institute a com- 
parison between the four principal winds, namely: north, south, east 
and west; and with these conditions I shall equip myself to give 
information as to the aforesaid movements of the water within the air; 
as a result this description will be briefer and more expeditious. 

These are the four ways in which the waters moving in the same 
manner penetrate one another with lines that slant towards the centre 

of the earth. . . , 

These four demonstrations are sufficient to prove the four principal 
effects that the waters produce as they strike one another within the 
air Of which the first is that in which the more slanting penetrates the 
less slanting, and penetrates it in part and carries with it the part that 

has been struck. 

In the second demonstration the less slanting penetrates the more 
slanting in part and carries with it the part that has been struck. In 
the third demonstration the more slanting water carries away with it 
entirely the less slanting water. The fourth does the opposite, in that 
the less slanting water carries away with it entirely the more slanting. 

I-' 45 v. 

If the earth were [not] spherical no part of it would be uncovered 
by the sphere of the water. 

You will never find a flat piece of the earth without the water upon 
it being of convex shape standing in the middle of this level surface. 
And this water will never move towards the extremities of this plain. 
Therefore upon a surface that is absolutely flat there may be water of 
varying degrees of depth. 

It is impossible to find any flat part in the surface of any very great 
expanse of water. . 

The deep recesses in the ocean bed are everlasting, the summits ot 
the mountains are the contrary: it follows that the earth is spherical 
and all covered with water and that it will be inhabitable. 


An object which is carried by the course of the water ... in the 
course of less power: if it is slanting below it will move towards the 
bottom, and so it will move according to the direction of its slant. 

Of the objects carried between two currents of water only that one 
will proceed without being turned upside down which is in the middle 
of two currents of equal movement. 

But that will be in continual revolution over and over which is in 
the middle of two unequal currents. 

An object will not make any lateral revolution when it moves be- 
tween currents equal in movement; and so conversely. * 5 2 v - 

Of the movement of a thing that slants irregularly in water which 
has a regular current: it will proceed to turn continually when below 
the surface of the water, and that in which the slant is regular will not 
make any turn. 

When the upper part of the straight side of the object and the lower 
part are struck by an equal current this object will make a lateral 
revolution. F 53 v - 

[The percussion of water] 

All water after it has struck against an object is divided into four 
different and principal movements, namely right and left, high and 
low; and the low movement causes injury to its bed. 

Of the four principal movements which water makes as it divides 
5n its reflex action, that will be more rapid which is reflected at a more 
acute angle. F 54 r - 


Of the things carried by the course of the waters that which has a 
larger part of itself in the air responds to the movement of the air 
more than to that of the water; and so conversely that which has a 
larger part of itself in the water will follow the course of this water 
more than that of the air. 

See in the windings of the canals where the water is swifter below, 
in the middle, and above, and of this make a book. 

The pipe by which water is drawn to a height receives less damage 
than that pipe along which water is driven; and this is due to the fact 


that in the first case the motive power is above and in the second it is 

Where the water is most rapid, it wears away most the bed on which 

it rubs. j 

Where the water is most shut in, it becomes most rapid and in its 
passage wears away its bed most. F 5 r - 

The object always changes the order of the nature o the waves thai 
have been commenced. 

The current a b has one order and the object which receives its per- 
cussion throws it over completely and changes it to another figure. 

I you wish to form a correct impression of all the shapes of the 
waves and the courses of the waters, observe the clear water where it 
is shallow beneath the rays of the sun, and you will see, by means of 
this sun, all the shadows and lights of the said waves and of the things 
carried by the water. 

The sphere of the water increases and decreases sensibly or insensi- 
bly, according to the greater or less, more universal or less universal 
deluges of the waters given back to this sphere of the water. 

y 65 v. 


Eddies are always the intermingling of two streams of water, that 
is, the falling and the reflex. 

All the water which in the currents of the rivers tarries behind the 
objects in these currents has no other exit than by contact with the 
aforesaid currents. 

The eddies which turn back are always those of the swiftest water, 

And the eddies that are turned in the direction that the stream is 
flowing are those of the water which tarries in the stream's course. 

Here the law of the waters in their eddies does not fail, because the 
water that becomes slow, turns back, and makes the eddies in the op- 
posite direction to its movement, as do the eddies of the swiftest water. 
And for this reason these eddies, whether of the slow or of the rapid 
water, mingle together and redouble their power; but not entirely 
because the slow eddy in mingling with the swift becomes swifter than 


at first, and the swift eddy as it embraces and unites with that which 
is slower acquires slowness. 

The hollow in the swift waters caused by the submersion of the 
eddies will point towards the approach of the waters, and in the slow 
waters it will point in the direction in which they are flowing. 

F 66r. 


A drop is that which does not detach itself from the rest of the water 
unless the power of its weight is more than its adhesion to the water 
with which it is joined. 

That drop is formed more slowly which has a slower movement of 
water at its creation. 

All the movements made on the surface of water are also made at 
each successive stage of its depth, and likewise in each part of its 
length; and this is learnt from the grasses that grow on the beds of 
the streams. F 66 v. 

Water that falls in the air separates itself with difficulty from its 
bulk, and the sign of this is found in the curve that it produces and 
the winding of one of its parts round the other, between which the 
film of water is interposed. F 67 r. 

If the earth covered by the sphere of the water is more or less heavy 
than if it were not so covered: 

I reply that the heavy substance weighs more which is in the middle 
of the lighter. 

Therefore the earth which is covered by air is heavier than that 
which is covered by water. 

I say: the centre of gravity of the pyramid being placed at the 
centre of the earth, it will change its centre of gravity if it is sub- 
sequently covered in part by the sphere of the water, and I give an 
example with two cylindrical weights that are equal and similar, of 
which one is half in the water and the other entirely in the water: I 
say that that which is half out of the water is the heavier, as has been 

Suppose there to be a straight line equal to the diameter of the 


sphere of the water, which touches the surface of the sphere of water 
in the centre of its length. One asks what is the difference between 
each of the miles of the descent which the surface of this sphere makes 
below the said line, F 6 9 r - 

[Centre of the earth and watery sphere} 

Because the centre of the natural gravity of the earth ought to be in 
the centre of the world the earth is always growing lighter in some 
part, and the part that becomes lighter pushes upwards, and submerges 
as much of the opposite part as is necessary for it to join the centre of 
its aforesaid gravity to the centre of the world; and the sphere of the 
water keeps its surface steadily equidistant from the centre of the 

Where the sun is straight above, the earth grows light; covered by 
the air, the waters and the snows have been lacking to it, and on the 
opposite side the rains and the snows have made the earth heavy 
again and drive it towards the centre of the world, and thrust the parts 
that have become lightened to a greater distance from this centre; so 
therefore the sphere of this water preserves an equality of distance 
from the centre of its sphere but not of gravity. 

Water poured in the air at a concave angle becomes spread out in a 
sheet, and it remains spread out in a sheet more on the side of the 
angle where this water makes more contact; and on the opposite side 
the sheet of water will leap up and make its union at first in the form 
of an open sheath. * 7 r * 

[Water of the sea and of rivers] 

The sea beneath the equinox Is raised by the heat of the sun, and 
acquires movement over every part of the hill or portion of the water 
that rises in order to give equality and restore perfection to its sphere. 

If an outlet of water with sixteen ounces descent in each mile yields 
me sixteen measures of water, how much will the same outlet afford 
with eight ounces descent per mile? 

The revolutions of the cross-eddies acquire size and slowness at each 
stage of their length. 

The convulsions of the reflex movements of the water at the bottom 
of rivers destroy the circling movements of the longitudinal eddies. 

The water of the sea and of the turbid rivers is heavier than the 


other waters, and as a consequence offers more resistance to the 
weights it carries. 

The water of the sea offers more resistance because the weight of the 
salt that is mixed with it is liquefied, and it is inseparable from it with- 
out the heat that dries up the water; but the turbid part of the water 
is separated from it by heat and when the water is at rest. F 70 v. 

[Movement of water in the air and in the water\ 

The movement that water makes in the air follows for some distance 
the line of the sides of the small holes through which it descends. It is 
not thus with the discontinuous quantity that the stone shows itself to 
be when thrown by the circular movement of the man's arm; this fol- 
lows the straight movement; which the water does not do on account 
of it being spread out in a sheet, for this in a long space of movement 
collects all the parts of the water together. 

The impressions of the movements made by the water within the 
water are more permanent than the impressions that the water makes 
within the air; and this takes place because water within water is de- 
void of weight, as is proved in the fifth, but only the impetus weighs 
and this moves this water that has no weight until it is itself con- 

The impressions of the movements of water are more permanent 
when the water carried by the impetus enters into a sheet of water 
(felagd) with slower movement, and conversely. 

The impressions made by the water within the air are destroyed in 
the first movement that they make towards the earth, because the im- 
petus is consumed in the natural movement that is produced in the 
water. F 7 1 r - 


The falls of water that intersect in the air become filled with air in 
their reflex movement. 

Of the falls of water which strike each other within the air being of 
equal thickness, that which descends from a higher part of its reservoir 
will join itself to the course of that which is lower and will complete 
its course with it. 

Falling water which then runs over terraces breaks its bed very 
much at the end of these terraces. 


This proceeds from the fact that when the current of the water 
reaches the last stage of these terraces it falls and raises itself from the 
bottom, burying itself so much the more as its fall is deeper, because 
the fall is more powerful in great descents than in lesser ones. 

All water, when it strikes the bottom or upon another object, divides 
and runs in different directions. 

All water, when it surges up, divides at the surface and runs in dif- 
ferent directions, and so much the more as the sheet of water is more 
tranquil. F ' z v ' 

The simple movements of the waters are those which act simply with 
their simple movement of whatever kind it may be. 

Composite movements are created by different movements and 
these are very powerful i a different functions. 

The wave is slower at the summit than upon its sides. 

The falling movement is more rapid than the reflex. 

Joined together, the greatest and the least slowness of the waves, that 
is of the wave in itself with its sides and summits, become equal to 
the common course of their stream, and this is to be adduced in the 
conclusions, that is to say to prove them. F 7 2 r - 

[Of the raising of water in nature and by artifice] 

If the water which gushes forth from the high summits of the 
mountains comes from the sea, the weight of which drives it up there 
so that it is higher than these mountains, why has this portion of water 
the capacity of raising itself to so great a height, and of penetrating 
the earth with such difficulty and length of time, while it has not been 
granted to the rest of the element of water to do the same, although 
this borders on the air which would not be able to resist it and so 
prevent the whole from rising to the same height as the aforesaid part? 

You who have found such an invention must needs return to the 
study of natural things, for you will be found lacking in cognate 
knowledge, and o this you have made great provision by means of the 
property of the friar of which you have come into possession [ PJ. 1 

1 Ravaisson-Mollien says: 'Cctte phrase signific peut-etrc: Si tu as trouv a inventer 
une imitation de r&eVation de Teau dans la Nature, siux cimes clcs moms, en ayant era 
beaucoup t'instruire a cet e*gard avec le fonds de livres, dessins, etc., du frcre [moine] 
un tel, que tu possedes, cette instruction-la te trouvcra bicntot en dcfaut, ft H tc fawira 
de nouveau e*tudier les choses de la Nature.' 


Water falling into a channel of width equal to the width of the 
water that falls will make a deep hollow within the surface of the 

Water falling into [a channel] where the width is greater than the 
said fall will not make a very great hollow in the surface of the 
water, on account of the eddies, which cause the water to bend in the 
hollow caused by this fall. 

Water which clears away the bottom on which it hurls itself rap- 
idly or slowly in all its width, depth or narrowness, its seething mass 
being tossed back by the bed of the watery expanse, is in part caught 
up again to the surface of the water, there to make its various falling 
and reflex movements, in part returns to where was its first fall, bury- 
ing itself there with it and then returning up in lateral eddies, and in 
part falling back in the middle of the seething mass and spreading 
itself out with slow movement round the centre of its fall. 

F 72 v. and r. 

[Movements of water] 

Between the current and the eddy is the sand. 

Between the sand and the eddy is a smooth valley where the eddy 

In the eddy are pieces of timber and other light things. 

If the air is motionless an object borne on the surface of the water 
will be slower than one that is below its surface. 

Where the water issues forth by a level bed beneath the sluices it 
hollows out the bed before and behind these sluices. * 77 r - 


A wide object borne by the current of the river between the surface 
and the bed of the river, if it should meet with water that is slower 
than that which bears it and should find itself at that time slanting 
in the direction of the approaching river, will immediately leap from 
the bed to the surface of the water; and if this slant is pointing in the 
opposite direction to the course of the water then in encountering 
the slow current it will suddenly precipitate itself towards the bottom; 
and if this slant looks to the right or left of the breadth of the stream 


it will throw itself to this right or left side of the stream and so will 
continue in any direction. F ? 8 r ' 


If the mountains had not remained in great part uncovered by the 
waters, the courses of the rivers would not have been able to carry so 
much mud into the sea as exists at a great elevation, mingled with the 
animals which have been enclosed by it. 

The revolutions of the reflex water in returning to the current of its 
river penetrate it more in its lower parts than on its surface; and this 
proceeds from the fact that the current, by the seventh, is swifter above 
than below, and is in consequence more powerful above, and therefore 
less penetrated by the percussion of this reflex water above than below. 

The eddies formed by the percussion of the reflex water in the course 
of the falling water are of two kinds, of which one is produced towards 
the bottom and revolves vertically through the length of the stream* 
the other is upon the surface and revolves right and left through the 
breadth of the stream. The lower is produced by the falling down 
again of the seething mass towards the bottom, and that on the surface 
by the revolving movement striking into the surface current. F 78 v. 

Water turns before falling water like the wheel of a mill. F 81 r. 

Of the surfaces surrounding the water that is poured through the 
air from an expanse of water, and also what the water does in these 

Of the movements of the things that have fallen with the water which 
moves in the air, and also what they do in this expanse of water. 

Of the things that float upon the middle water, and how they 
become submerged when they find themselves between the centre of 
the middle water and the fall, and they become submerged together 
with this fall which takes place in the expanse of water, and strike 
against the bottom and break in pieces. 

Write therefore all the effects of the things that become submerged 
in any extremity of this middle water, which always submerges its 
extremities because it is in the centre of all the reflex movements 
towards the bottom of its expanse of water, * 81 v. 


Of the earth. Every heavy substance tends to descend, and the lofty 
things will not retain their height but with time they will all descend, 
and thus in time the earth will become a sphere, and as a consequence 
will be completely covered with water, and the underground channels 
will remain without movement. 

Of the convex wave. If the wave created by the fall of the water 
of a canal of uniform breadth and depth will be of long movement 
or no. 

Of the concave wave. If the concave wave created by the water that 
falls abruptly from the open canal under a sluice will be of long 
movement in a canal of uniform breadth and depth. F 84 r. 

Water which runs through a canal of uniform emptiness and fills 
all its first smooth part, will fill all the other straight and slanting 
parts and will move with equal swiftness. 

The movements of the heavy elements are not to the centre in order 
to go to this centre, but because the medium in which they are cannot 
resist them, and when they find resistance in their element this body 
no longer has weight and does not seek to penetrate to the centre. 

Water in air weighs and descends by the shortest path. It divides 
and opens the air which is below its centre of gravity with all its parts 
equally, and it does not divide the air that is upon its sides because it 
is not situated above it. And because of this it makes a hollow in the 
air of very short length until it reaches that which resists it; and as 
this resistance is that of water the water that falls through the air no 
longer seeks to go the centre, because it no longer divides the water 
as it did with the air; therefore the heavy substance moves downwards 
where it meets with no resistance, and not in order to go to the centre. 


Write first of all water in each of its movements, then describe all 
its beds and the substances in them, adducing always the propositions 
as to the aforesaid waters, and let the order be good as otherwise the 
work will be in confusion. 

Describe all the shapes that water assumes, from its largest to its 
smallest wave, and their causes. F 87 v. 



If with a sluice the larger body of water is divided by the narrower 
and the movement of the water is from the narrower to the larger, 
the water which rises under the sluice will leap on to the larger water, 
and by its falling back it will hollow the bed of the canal in several 
places with different leaps. * 88 r. 

[Treatise on water] 

Describe what water does in each defined instance between its sur- 
face and the bottom. And what part of the water is slower or more 

Of the lateral objects placed upon the banks of winding rivers. 

Of the intersections that the waves make one with another on being 
bent back by the opposite banks of the rivers. 

Of the elevation of the waves formed by the intersection of other 
cylindrical waves. p 89 r. 

Of the various breadths of the transversal interpositions set in the 
middle of the breadths of rivers. 

Of the various projections of the lateral objects set upon the banks 
of rivers. 

Of the different slants placed in the middle of the widths of rivers, 

Of the different juxtapositions of the fronts of the lateral objects 
placed upon the banks of rivers. F 89 v. 

[Boo% of the treatise on water] 

If the cylindrical wave shall strike the eddies produced about one 
of the extended banks, these pent-up eddies will be contracted and 
acquire great power to excavate beneath the bank and cause it to fall 

Order of the book. 

Put at the beginning what a river can do of equal depth and slant 
of bed on its bank, where lie objects of various kinds. Then place these 
objects two by two. Then place them to face the opposite bank, in the 
same variety, and describe what the waters do when they intersect one 
another in the centre of the stream, and the obstacle they afford to the 
water reflected by the opposite bank. And then describe what each does 
in its bed, that is how it rises and settles itself. 


The side of the wave when it makes its rapid falling movement is 
the end of the slow reflex movement. It follows that the movement of 
the valley of the wave is swift and the crest of the wave is slow. 

F 90 v. 


If the course of the river is contracted on one of its sides it produces 
a half-cylindrical wave which is swift; and the eddies which are pro- 
duced between the contracted bank and the cylindrical wave occasion 
the laying bare and crumbling away of this contracted bank. 

If the banks should contract equally on each side of the current and 
opposite, then the cylindrical waves will intersect, and after this inter- 
section they will descend and strike upon the bank and cause it to fall 

But if the contraction of one bank should be lower than that of the 
other, then the upper cylindrical wave can enter under the lower. 

Here it is necessary, in the commentary, to define the distances of 
the contractions of the banks and their breadths. F 91 r. 

[Of canals, rivers and eddies\ 

The bank which is made to curve inwards in order to give greater 
breadth to the canal is the cause of the sudden forming of an eddy, 
and this bores down and makes a deep hole at the base of the bank 
and so becomes the cause of its fall. 

This is proved by the first of the third, which shows that the river 
in acquiring sudden breadth of space acquires also sudden breadth of 
water, and the water thus widened comes also to lower itself in depth; 
and so it suddenly creates a current which hurls itself upon the bank 
where it has been widened, and striking it divides itself into two 
eddies, one of which (the more powerful, as c b a) in order to be 
enclosed throws itself vigorously straight towards the bottom; and by 
the ninth which says that as the eddy will be most easily penetrated 
which has the lips of its mouth least slanting, it will have them quite 

Water brings about the fall of that bank of which the canal acquires 
a sudden breadth. 

If the canal gains on each side sudden breadth it oroduces eddies on 


each side; i these are united at the centre of the breadth of this canal 
it will make of itself a sudden and great depth. 
All these figures have to result from experience. F 91 v. 

[Cylindrical waves] 

The more the half-cylindrical wave moves the more it descends, and 
the more it spreads itself out the swifter it becomes. 

When there are two unequal cylindrical waves of which the larger 
comes into existence before the smaller, this smaller wave intersects 
the larger and passes above it. And this happens because the larger 
which is created first, when it is opposite to the smaller, is spread out 
and lowered, and the lesser which strikes it, being high, strikes the 
lowness of the greater one, and not finding any obstacle as high as 
itself runs over it and falls headlong on the opposite side and follows 
its initial impetus. 

But if the lesser of the unequal cylindrical waves starts higher in the 
river than the greater, then this greater follows its natural course, and 
the lesser follows the course of the greater. F 92 r. 

If the cylindrical waves clash and do not intersect as far as the cen- 
tre, the middle part which clashes leaps back and passes above the 
part that does not clash. 

When two cylindrical waves of equal size and power clash abso- 
lutely they each turn back completely without any penetration one of 
the other. 

But if the cylindrical waves are unequal in size, neither the larger 
nor the smaller will observe their law, because the larger does not 
bend and the lesser unites with the larger. 

But if when the waves are equal the rise of the one is before that 
of the other, their blows will not be delivered with equal power; 
consequently the course of the second will bend before that of the 
first. F 92 v. 

Water that moves between a bank and a straight smooth bed will 
not make a wave of any kind. 

What is thus stated takes place because a wave is only created by a 
reflex movement, and the reflex movement arises from the percussion 
of the falling movement which is made upon the particular object at 


the bottom or the sides of the canal; and if in these places there are no 
particular objects then by what has been said it will not create any 
wave, this water being made by minute upward movements which 
only raise themselves a little from the bottom, so that they do not 
make waves by coming to the surface. 

The simple half-cylindrical wave is formed upon some small object 
that is joined to the bank; the water that strikes it there makes a long 
wave in the shape of a half-column which takes its course slantwise 
towards the opposite bank, and dies there and is reborn. 

Let a be the object, placed upon the bank a o of the canal n o m p. 

I say that the water which strikes upon this object will make a wave 
which by its being continually reformed will also make itself continu- 
ous; and it would be always so if it were not interrupted by the com- 
mon course of the water of the canal, which all strikes on this wave 
and drives it unceasingly in every stage of its length, so that at the 
end it directs it according to its ordinary course. F 93 v. 

[Currents and falls of water} 

In water of ordinary speed the middle water will have tiny ripples. 

The water that is interposed between the mean of the surface and its 
bed is not of the nature of the mean; whereas this mean of the surface 
receives the percussion of the falling and the reflex; for the one and 
the other to be within the boundary falls upon the other water, making 
percussion of the air as of a heavy thing, and as a heavy thing it pene- 
trates within the other water struck by it. 

The water falls at first, rises up again, and raises itself with its semi- 
cylindrical wave above the semi-cylindrical wave opposite which made 
its fall more slanting. F 94 r. 

[The current of rivers] 

Water that descends in a straight river moves always by a slanting 
course, from the centre to the opposite banks and from these opposite 
banks to the centre of the river. This is proved by the ninth of this 
where it is stated: The course of straight rivers is always higher in 
the centre of their width and upon the sides than it is between the 
centre of their width and these sides. And this was proved by the sev- 
enth in which it was stated: The water of straight rivers never flows 
in a straight line because it is so much swifter as its obstruction is 


farther removed from the banks. And this was confirmed where I 
said: Where the falling movement is impeded there the reflex move- 
ment is created; and by the tenth of this: Always between the falling 
and the reflex movement is the maximum depression in the expanse of 
the rivers; and by the eleventh: After the last height of the reflex 
water there is produced the beginning of the falling movement; and 
by the twelfth: The falling movement of the waters does not change 
into the reflex movement without percussion against the bed or the 
bank of the river. Where the water strikes the bed or the bank of 
the river there the soil of the bed or the bank of the river becomes 

Always under the falling movement the bed of the river becomes 
raised and its height is restored under the reflex movement. 

The lateral slants of the waters which move continually in straight 
rivers are of a greater or less degree [of slant] according as these wa- 
ters have a more or less rapid current. c 14 v. 

[Density of water fresh and salt] 


The Ocean does not penetrate within the earth, and this we learn 
from the many and varied springs of fresh water which in various 
places of this Ocean penetrate from the bottom to its surface. The same 
thing also is shown us by the wells, made at a distance of more than a 
mile from the said Ocean, which are filled with fresh water; and this 
takes place because the fresh water is lighter than the salt water and as 
a consequence more penetrating. 

Which weighs more, water that is frozen or water that is not frozen? 

Fresh water penetrates more into salt water than salt water does into 
fresh water. 

That fresh water penetrates farther into salt water than salt water 
does into fresh is shown us by a thin cloth, dry and old, that hangs 
with its opposite ends at an equal depth in two different bodies of 
water, of which the surfaces are equally low; you will then see how 
the fresh water will raise itself so much higher up on this piece of 
cloth than the salt water, as it is lighter than it. c 38 r. 



The course that the water takes when issuing from a lake into a dry 
river-bed is so much slower or swifter as the river is wider or more 
confined or in a more level position in one place than in another. 

By what is set forth the flow and ebb of the sea which enters from 
the Ocean into the Mediterranean, and of the rivers that contend with 
it, raises their waters so much the more or less as the sea is more or less 
confined. G 48 r. 


Pliny says in his second book, in the hundred and third chapter, 
that the water of the sea is salt because the heat of the sun scorches 
and dries up the moisture and sucks it up, and thereby greatly increases 
the salt savour of the sea. 

But this cannot be admitted, because if the saltness of the sea were 
caused by the heat of the sun there is no doubt that the lakes and pools 
and marshes would be more salt in proportion as their waters have less 
movement and depth, but, on the contrary, experience shows us that 
the waters of these marshes are entirely free from saltness. It is also 
stated by Pliny in the same chapter that this saltness might arise be- 
cause, after the subtraction of every sweet and tenuous portion such as 
the heat readily draws to itself, the more bitter and coarser portion 
will be left behind, and in consequence the water on the surface is 
sweeter than that at the bottom. But this is contradicted by the reasons 
given above, whence it follows that the same thing would happen with 
marshes and other tracts of water which become dried up by the heat. 
It has also been said that the saltness of the sea is the sweat of the 
earth, but to this we may reply that then all the springs of water which 
penetrate through the earth would be salt. 

The conclusion therefore is that the saltness of the sea is due to the 
numerous springs of water, which in penetrating the earth find the 
salt mines, and dissolving parts of these carry them away with them 
to the Ocean, and to the other seas from whence they are never lifted 
by the clouds which produce the rivers. So the sea would be more salt 
in our times than it has ever been at any time previously; and if it 


were argued by the adversary that in an infinite course of time the 
sea would either become dried up or congealed into salt, to this I reply 
that the salt is restored to the earth by the setting free of the earth 
which is raised up together with the salt it has acquired, and the 
rivers restore it to the earth over which they flow, 

But to express this better if it be granted that the world is ever- 
lasting it must needs be that its population also will be everlasting; 
and that therefore the human race has perpetually been and will be 
consumers of salt; and if the whole mass of the earth were composed 
of salt it would not suffice for human food. And for this reason we 
are forced to conclude either that the substance of the salt is everlast- 
ing as is the world, or that it dies and is renewed together with the 
men who consume it. But since experience teaches us that it does not 
die, as is shown from the fact of fire not consuming it, and from 
water becoming more salt in proportion as it is dissolved in it, and 
from the fact that when water evaporates the original quantity of salt 
remains, there must needs pass through human bodies as urine or 
perspiration or the other excretions that are found there as much salt 
as is brought every year into the cities. And therefore we may say 
that the rains which penetrate through the earth are what carry back 
underneath the foundations of cities and their peoples through the 
passages of the earth the saltness taken from the sea; and that the 
change in the position of the sea which was over all the mountains has 
left the salt in the mines that are to be found in these mountains. 

As a third and last reason we may say that salt is in all created 
things; and we may learn this from passing water through ashes and 
the refuse of things which have been burnt, and from the urine of 
animals and the excretions which proceed from their bodies, and the 
earth into which by corruption all things are changed. 

c 48 v. and 49 r. 


The subterranean courses of the waters like those which are made 
between the air and the earth are those which unceasingly wear away 
and deepen the beds of their courses. 

X MS. delta vlbra&o detta terra. 


The soil carried away by the rivers is deposited in the ultimate parts 
of their courses; or rather the soil carried away by the high courses of 
the rivers is deposited in the ultimate descents of their movements. 

Where fresh water is rising to the surface of the sea it is a manifest 
portent of the creation of an island which will be uncovered more 
slowly or more rapidly as the quantity of the water that rises is less or 
greater in amount. And this island is produced by the quantity of 
earth or deposit of stones made by the subterranean course of the 
water in the places through which it flows. <* 49 v - 


The falls that the waters make at their banks always wear away the 
bases of these banks and cause them to fall headlong on their founda- 
tions. This is proved: if the height of the bank a c from which falls 
the water a n, striking and consuming the place struck m n c, be the 
centre of the percussion upon which are divided the reflex movements 
n m o and n c , which in each direction consume the bank that is 
chafed by their revolving movements, then as the banks find them- 
selves thus consumed their supports collapse on the side on which their 
prop fails. 

The water which falls from a b to n m will proceed to deepen all 
the bed from where it falls as far as the lowest level of the place where 
it falls, from a b to c d. G 5 v - 


The water of the sea cannot penetrate from the roots to the summits 
of the mountains which border upon it but only raises itself as far as 
the aridity of the mountain * draws it. And if on the contrary the rain 
which penetrates from the summit of the mountain to its roots which 
border on the sea, descends and softens the opposite slope of the same 
mountain, and draws the water continually as does the syphon which 
pours through its longest side, it must be this which draws up to a 
height the water of the sea; thus if s n were the surface of the sea and 

*MS. monte. So Kichter. Ravaisson-Mollien reads mondo* 


the rain descends from the summit of the mountain a to n on one side 
of it and descends on the other side from a to m, this without doubt 
would be the method of distillation of a filter or as happens through 
the tube called a syphon; and the water which has softened the moun- 
tain by the great rain which descends from the two opposite sides 
would constantly attract the rain a n on its longest side together with 
the water of the sea, if the side of the mountain a m were longer than 
the side a n; but this cannot be because no part of the earth that is not 
submerged by the ocean can be lower than this ocean. c 70 r. 

[With drawings] 

These convolutions must be made with coloured water falling 
blindly into clear water. <* 9 v - 

Running water has within itself an infinite number of movements 
which are greater or less than its principal course. 

This is proved by the things supported within two streams of water 
which are equal to the water in weight. If the waters are clear they 
show well the true movement of the waters that conducts them, be- 
cause sometimes the fall of the wave towards the bottom bears them 
with it so that they strike upon this bottom; and they would be re- 
flected back with it to the surface of the water if the floating body 
were spherical; but it frequently happens that the wave does not bear 
them back, because they are wider or narrower in one direction than 
in the other, and being thus irregular in shape they are struck upon 
the side that is largest by another reflex wave which proceeds to roll 
over and over this movable thing which moves wherever it is carried, 
its movement being sometimes swift and sometimes slow, and turning 
sometimes to right and sometimes to left, at one instant upwards at 
another downwards, turning over and turning back upon itself, now 
in one direction and now in another, obeying all the forces that have 
power to move it, and in the struggles carried on by these moving 
forces going always as the booty of the victor. G 93 r. 

There can be no flow and ebb unless several rivers discharge them- 
selves in the same expanse of water. c 95 r. 

In the course of the year the amount of the water that rises will be 
as great as of that which descends in the rivers and the air. M 29 v. 


[Course of rivers] 

All the things which are lighter than sand will be left in the lower 
part of the river underneath the beginning of the fall of the wave. 

Where the water has least movement the surface of the bottom will 
be of the finest mud or sand. 

Where the course of turbid water meanders among the gnarled 
roots of thickets it will deposit much sand or mud through the many 
twists of its eddies. H 30 r. 


The water which gives less weight to its course is swifter. 

The water which is swifter drives its wheel faster. 

That gives less weight to its course which is straighter. 

The water of the mills ought to strike the blades of the wheels at 
right angles. 

That water which flows with less slant will strike the wheel farther 
from the perpendicular of its fall. 

That water which strikes farther from the perpendicular of its fall 
gives a less blow. H 30 v. 

The wave created by the percussion of water upon the bed of a river 
will make a movement from below contrary to that from above. 

The wave is slower at the end of its elevation than at any other part. 

The parts of the wave which move most swiftly will be near the end 
of its fall. 

The sand remains higher underneath the highest part of the wave 
than under its lower part. H 31 r. 

When a stone is thrown into still water it will create ripples that 
expand equally if the water is of uniform depth. 

If two stones are thrown one near to the other within the space of a 
braccio, the circles of the water will increase equally one within the 
other without the one destroying the other. 

But if the bottom is not level the circles will not expand in uniform 
movement except on the surface. 

When an object of long shape is thrown into water it will create an 
oval undulation. 


A round object thrown into running water will create an oval undu- 
lation in two movements. H 31 v. 

Where the water is higher it has more weight upon its bed and its 
course is more undulating. 

That part o the bed or of the bank which projects with the sharpest 
angles into the straight course o the waters suffers most damage in the 
flow of the water. H 35 v. 

Water which strikes on an angle deepens the former sides. H 36 r. 

Every part of the surface of the water desires to be situated at an 
equal distance from the centre of the elements, and if one part of the 
surface be raised above another this so happens because of the contrary 
movements which are taking place between it and the bottom. 

H 3 7r. 

Where the current is in the centre of the full stream the ridge will 
not be between the point of union of the eddies and of where the water 
rebounds; it is all deep. 

The large pebbles remain in the deepest part of the current. 

H37 v. 

Where the channel of the water grows narrower it digs its bed 
deeper and flows more swiftly. n 38 r. 

Iron which receives continually the impact of flowing water never 
rusts but is consumed by being burnished. H 39 r. 

In proportion as the object dividing the water is more distant from 
the surface it leaves less sand behind it. ir 39 v. 

Where one body of water joins another at a sharp angle it will make 
a great depth. n 40 v. 

[Of things carried by the water\ 

Where the water makes less movement there when laden it deposits 
its weight. H 46 v. 

If a long object uniform in weight and thickness finds itself in the 
middle of an even descent, its length will move according to the length 
of the course of the water. 

Royal Library, Windsor 


When a long object moves in a channel midway between the middle 
and the contact of the bank it will move slantwise. 

The long object which is nearer to the side than to the centre will 
proceed to revolve upon the water. H 47 r. 

Where water has less movement there it deposits its weight more 

The eddies of water after it has struck the ground at an angle turn 
in contrary movement. H 47 v. 

Water will be in perpetual movement if its surface is not equidistant 
from the centre of the earth. 

Sand and other light objects follow and obey the twists and turns of 
the eddies of the water while the large stones move in a straight line. 

H 50 [2] r. 

Water which falls into smooth water causes it to become slanting, 
consequently its descent becomes swifter. H 50 [2] v. 

Measure the height of the falling water and multiply it by the height 
to which you wish to raise it, and as many times as the extent of the 
fall of the water enters into the height to which it has been raised, so 
many times is it thinner than that which rises; and this is the last and 
greatest amount that can be raised. H 51 [3] v. 

Water which rises continually because of the movement of other 
water will be so much the thinner as that which moves it is of greater 
length. H 52 [4] r. 

Turbid water does more harm to the banks than clear water, and 
more at the base than at the top, because it is heavier and thicker. 

H 52 [4] v. 

The line of the water which has the greater movement breaks that 
of the lesser movement and buries itself beneath it. 

That part of the sand which is nearest to the impact of the falling 
water will be finer than the rest. 

The large shingle will be farthest away from the blow. H 53 [5] r. 

I ask whether the water which emerges underneath comes from the 
surface or no. 


The first depth will be where the sum of the blow of the second 
water makes its way into the course of the eddies; the lesser where the 
second base is, is where the revolving water encounters it in its course. 

H 53 [5] v. 

After the descent of water that which was above remains below; the 
lower part becomes changed into the upper part. 

After the most rapid descent of the water the lower part remains of 
more rapid movement than the upper part. H 54 [6] r. 

Of waters that flow upon beds of equal slant that will have the less 
depth which has the greater breadth. 

Of waters that flow between banks of equal breadth that will have 
less depth which possesses the more rapid course. H 54 [6] v. 

Water in its movement drags with it the air which borders on it. 

And the bed offers more resistance : this is why it moves more on the 
surface than at the bottom. 

All the upper part of the water which finds itself at the beginning 
of its fall will be lower than the other after this fall. H 55 \j] r. 

Water which flows in falls of equal slant will move more strongly at 
the bottom of the canal than at its surface. H 56 [8] v. 

Waters which fall from the same level with an equal slant in an 
equal length of movement will be of equal swiftness. H 58 [10] v. 

Of waters which fall from the same level by channels of equal slant, 
that will have the swifter course which has the greater length. 

Of waters which fall the same distance from the same level, that 
will be slower which is longer. H 59 [u] r. 

The percussion of the water upon the wheel will be at the highest 
degree of its power when it strikes within equal angles. 

The percussion made between equal angles will be of the greatest 
power when the current of the water and the movement of the wheel 
are in the same direction. H 63 [15] r. 

The sand moved by two light currents of water settles itself upoa 
the steep bank in a square ridge. H 63 [15] v* 


Water which has struck against a round body will create equal 
hollows beyond the sides of this body. 

Gravel dug up by the blows of the water will settle where the move- 
ments made by the blows meet. 

That face of the triangle which is interposed between more nearly 
equal angles in the course of the water will be the cause of a great 
hollow in the water that strikes there. H 64 [16] r. 

Water which moves by a uniform slant will be swifter at the surface 
than at the bottom. 

The wave that is caused by a blow will be higher at the beginning 
than in the middle. 

Waves that are caused by the wind will be higher in the middle 
than at the beginning; that is the fourth [will be higher] than the 
third. H 67 [19] v. 

These back-currents eat away the banks of the canals; you will 
therefore make screens of wood to extend for the whole of their im- 
pact. H 68 [20] r, 

[Movement of water\ 

Water which exceeds the general depth and breadth of rivers moves 
in contrary movement. 

The wave of the water will swell between the cause of the move- 
ment and its end. 

Water which moves by reason of the undulation of the wind will 
make a contrary movement at the bottom to that at the surface. 

Water does not weigh less crosswise than in the line of its per- 

Every movement of liquid weighs more in the direction in which 
through a hole of equal size its vase empties itself more rapidly; the 
centre of the bottom of the vase receives a greater weight of water 
than any other place. H 68 [20] v. 

The free movement made by the upper part of water will not make 
angles of any kind except in the percussion. 
All the upper lines made by the movement of water are curved. 
The wave follows the movement of the air which touches it. 


The object enclosed between the air and the wave does not follow 
the movement of the one or the other. 

The water that is expelled from the spot which the vessel occupies 
weighs as much as all the remainder of the ship which displaces it. 

H 69 [21] r. 

Streams of water equal in current and angle of descent which move 
one against the other, penetrate and pass through each other without 
turning aside from their natural course. H 69 [21] v. 

Water which moves against motionless water attacks and destroys its 

The water with the greater movement penetrates and traverses the 
lesser movement of other water, like air. H 70 [22] r. 

The line made by the course of water after its percussion leaps back 
at equal angles. H 71 [23] r. 

The farther water is away from its bed the freer will it be in it? 
natural movement. H 72 [24] r. 

Where the water has a stronger current the shingle is larger. All 
the detached shingle will turn its largest side slantwise against the 
course of the water. H 74 [26] v. 

All light things gather together in the centre of the eddies that is at 
the bottom. H 75 [27] r. 

Every portion of water desires its parts to be as the whole element, 
equally distant from its centre. H 76 [28] r. 

The water which flows near the bed of the stream between the banks 
will be slower than the rest because of the percussions made by the 
eddies. H 77 [29] v. 

[Error as to buying water} 

You who buy water by the ounce know that you may greatly deceive 
yourselves. In fact if you take an ounce in stagnant water and an 
ounce in flowing water, against the hole of your ounce, an ounce near 
the surface, one near the bottom, one across the current . . . 


In proportion as the natural movement separates itself from its cause 
so it becomes more rapid. H 78 [30] r. 

That wheel of the water will be better turned when the water that 
turns it does not leap back after its percussion. 

The blow will be of the greatest force when the movement which 
causes it is straighter and longer. H 79 [31] v. 

[Sand and water} 

All the hollows of the furrows visible in the sand will be between 
equal angles, according to the movement of the water. H 80 [32] r. 


The wave is less sloping and of slower movement in its rise than in 
its descent. H 81 [33] r. 

The surface of the water of rivers desires to be equidistant from the 
centre; as it leaps it weighs down and consumes the bed because it 
grows thicker in the course of its intersections and increases in weight 
as it enters the air, and in consequence falls and bursts through the 
bed. H 81 [33] v. and 82 [34] r. 

In water that has no movement the leaves that ranged through every 
part of the water rest upon its bed. H 82 [34] r. 

The back-currents which are formed in the midst of the expanse 
of the falling water are situated between the leap of the water and 
its banks. H 82 [34] r. 

The back-currents made by the water after the expense of its fall will 
be between the surface and the bottom, between the upper and the 
lower part H 83 [35] r. 

If the beds of two canals are of equal slant and breadth, and contain 
an equal volume of water, and one is restricted to two thirds of its 
breadth in the middle of its course and the other is uniform in breadth, 
I ask which will discharge more water. 

Water that falls into other water strikes against its bed and raises 
itself farther in the air than does the general surface, and then falls 
back and lessens its bounds, H 83 [35] v. 


The lines of the water as it leaps after its percussion will not be in a 
straight course but will bend in a curve. H 84 [36] r. 

A straight canal of uniform depth and slant will make within a 
short time a deeper hollow in its centre than near the bank. 

The water in the middle of straight canals flows more rapidly than 
it does at the sides. 

Where the water has more movement it is lighter if it is of the same 

Water which has been pent up will burst the bank and the bottom 
after its fall. H 84 [36] v. 

Every canal of water of uniform declivity, depth and breadth, which 
is pent up for a certain space, will burst its bed and its bank after the 
passage of this restricted area. 

This is due to the fact that where water is pent up it rises behind this 
barrier and after passing through this narrow place it presses on furi- 
ously; as it descends it comes upon the water below which does not 
flow and so it receives a check. After this it follows the line of its 
descent and goes to the bottom and burrows there and turns with a 
circular movement towards the banks, and hollowing these out from 
below it makes them fall in ruin, as is shown in the drawing above. 

H 85 [37] r. 
[With drawing] 

Water below obeys its natural course less than that above. 

This comes about because the water that borders on the air is not 
made heavy by any weight, so that simply and without any restraint it 
obeys its natural course c d. 

That below is weighted and pressed and acts as is shown at a b. See 
that as it forms an angle at a and above at c it cannot form anything 
but a curved line. 

All the waters some distance below the surface intersect after their 
percussion. H 85 [37] v. 

That water will turn in contrary course which exceeds the general 
breadth and depth of the rivers. 

Waters of equal breadth and unequal depth will be of equal move- 
ment on the surface. 


Among the currents of water of equal slant that which is the 
straightest will be the swiftest. H 87 [39] r. 

Water which exceeds in depth or breadth the general breadth and 
depth of the river will turn against its first course. H 87 [39] v. 


Remember when discoursing about water to adduce first experience 
and then reason. H 90 [42] r. 

Of streams of water equal in length, breadth and declivity, the 
swiftest will be the one of greatest depth. H 92 [44] v. 

All the movements of streams of water which are equal in depth 
and declivity will be more swift at the surface than at the bottom, and 
more at the centre than at the sides. H 93 [45] r. 

Water, which is the vital humour of the terrestrial machine, moves 
by its own natural heat. H 95 [47 v.] r. 

[The circulation of water] 

The water which from the lowest depths of the sea entering by the 
force of its mover is driven to the high summits of the mountains, there 
finding the severed veins, hurls itself headlong and returns by the 
shortest way to the depths of the sea; and again it raises itself through 
the ramification of its veins and again falls back, and thus, coming and 
going, sometimes high and sometimes low, inwards and outwards, it 
revolves with natural or accidental movement after the manner of a 
screw, while the water that is poured away through its severed branches 
and falls back upon itself rises again through its courses and returns to 
the same points of descent. H 101 [42 r.] v. 

Where three currents of water meet together there will be created a 
sudden depth, for they rise and acquire weight and then movement 
with force, and this breaks in the percussion that it makes upon the 
bottom. i 61 [13] v. 

[Of the fall of a river] 

If the bottom of the bed of the river from which the water hurls 
itself is hollow in the centre, the water which moves from the sides and 
directs itself towards this centre will raise itself before falling. 


If the river as it flows strikes against some rock, it will leap up, and 
the place that it strikes in its fall will be of the nature of a well. 

i 62 [14] r. 

If the rock in a river projects above and divides the course of the 
water which rejoins after this rock, the interval that is found to exist 
between the rock and the reunion of the water will be the place where 
the sand becomes deposited. 

But if the rock that divides the course of the waters is covered by the 
flowing waters only in its lower parts, the water that passes above will 
fall behind it and form a hollow at its feet and cause it to turn; and the 
water that falls headlong into this chasm turns in vortex upwards and 
downwards, for the uniting of the two streams of water which had 
been divided by the rock does not suffer the water immediately to 
pursue its journey. i 67 [19] v. 

Every natural and continuous movement desires to preserve its 
course on the line of its inception, that is however its locality varies it 
proceeds according to its beginning. 

This movement aforesaid occurs in the course of rivers, which always 
attack and destroy whatever opposes the direct line of their course. 

But if these rivers were straight, with equal breadth, depth and slant, 
you would find that with each degree of movement they would acquire 
degrees of speed. 

Consequently if there is a change or difference in their slant there 
is a difference in their course; and where there is less inequality in 
breadth they become deeper; and given an equal slant, where they are 
wider they become slower. Therefore the waters which desire a straight 
course, and to make themselves swifter at each stage of their move- 
ment, finding the places through which they pass wider and deeper 
become slower and break the bed or the bank. i 68 [20] r. 


The movement of the rebound of water is swifter than that of the 
percussion when the water that strikes is much mingled with the air. 

i 68 [20] v. 


For the air is capable of being compressed, and the more it is com- 
pressed the more it has weight within the other air; and the greater its 
weight the greater its percussion against its object, as is seen with the 
winds which are constrained from great breadth to pass through a nar- 
row defile of the mountains : if there were no opening above them they 
would not fill up the spaces of the things in front of them, but they are 
able to expand above with great facility because there are great spaces 
between the hills . . . and below readily, and the wind flies easily 
towards the height. Remember how Augustus made a vow in Gaul to 
the wind Cirrius because for just such an impetus he had to lose his 
army, and there he made a temple. i 68 [20] v., 69 [21] r. and v. 

Water will leap up far higher than it has fallen, through the violent 
movement caused by the air which finds itself shut in within the 
bubbles of the water, and which afterwards rises and floats like bells 
upon the surface of the water. Returning to the place where it strikes, 
the water is again submerged by the blow, so that the air finds itself 
hemmed in between the water which drives it down and that which 
encounters it, and being pressed upon with such fury and violence 
suddenly bursts through the water which serves it as a covering, and 
like a thunderbolt emerging from the clouds so this air emerges from 
the water carrying with it a part of the water 1 which previously formed 
its covering. i 69 [21] v. 

[Water in canals] 

When water in some part of its passage through a narrow canal 
becomes wider it immediately becomes shallow and swifter because it 
finds a slope where it moves vigorously. And along the course it has 
commenced it directs itself to the foot of its dike and strikes it. 

After which percussion it turns upwards and proceeds with a whirl- 
ing movement hollowing out the foundation of the bank until it 
returns upwards. And this process of hollowing it out gives it the shape 
of the hull of a ship, narrow at the commencement and the end and in 
the centre deep and wide. i 7 t 22 ] r - 

Here arise the bubblings or wellings up of water in the middle of 

1 MS. has aria, air. 


the higher eddies. And it may be asked whether the movement of the 
eddies starts because it runs towards the percussion of the water, which 
is lower than in any other adjacent part; or because the thrust of the 
water that flows in the centre of the breadth of the surface is that which 
as it strikes the other waters raises them and makes a hill with the 
other water, and then returns towards its entry in the expanse of water; 
or if the water struck by the other waters in its stream and pressed by 
it gushes up and leaps back to the place from which the current comes. 

i 71 [23] r. 


The name pelago (sea, large lake) is applied to an area large and 
deep in form in which the waters lie with little movement. Gorgo 
(whirlpool) is of the same nature as the pelago except for a certain 
difference, and this is that the waters that enter into the pelago do so 
without percussions while those of the gorgo are made up of great 
falls and bubblings up and surgings occasioned by the continuous 
revolutions of the waters. Flume (river) is that which occupies the 
site of the lowest part of the valleys and which flows continuously. A 
torrent is that which flows only with rains: it also makes its way in the 
low parts of the valleys and joins itself to the rivers. 

Canal is the term applied to waters regulated within their banks by 
human aid. Fonti (sources) is the name given to the birthplaces of 
rivers. Argine (bank) is that which with its abrupt height withstands 
the widening of rivers canals and torrents. The ripa (bank) is higher 
than the argine. The riva (shore) is lower than the argine. The 
spiaggia (beach) is among the lowest of the parts which form bounda- 
ries with the waters. Lago (lake) is that in which the waters of the 
rivers assume great width. Paludi (marshes) are stagnant waters. 
Grotte (caves) are hollows formed in the banks of rivers by the course 
of the river; their length follows the line of the course of the water; 
they have some depth and also find their way under the foundations of 
the bank, losing their shape as they near the end of their course. 
Caverns are of the shape of ovens which enter far beneath the bank, 
and the waters in them are in a state o wild turmoil and are constantly 

Pozzi (wells) are the sudden depths of rivers. Stagni (pools) art the 


places of refuge for the waters of floods or storms, their beds being firm 
and thick so that the soil can neither drink in nor dry up these waters. 
Baratri (chasms) are also places where the water suddenly becomes 
deep. Procelle (storms) are tempests of water. Polulamenti e surgimenti 
(bubblings and wellings up) are the beginnings of the waters; but the 
former come from below upwards and the latter merely in transverse 
movement which falls from some grotto. Sommergere (submersion) is 
understood to refer to things which enter under the water; intersegati- 
one dacque (intersection of waters) takes place when one river cuts 
the other. 1 i 72 [24] r. and v. 

When the general courses of the rivers are contracted, as they issue 
from the valleys and enter amid the defiles of the mountains, the water 
will heap itself up in its wide part; and it will make great descent and 
movement through the said contracting of the mountains, and after 
passing the middle of this contracted part it will make a great hollow, 
and then having entered again in the broad part it will lack depth, in 
just such proportion as the wide part increases in such a way that the 
waters become of equal course. 

And the said depth will be lacking after the leap of the waters, be- 
cause it will become filled up with shingle beneath the greater altitude 
of the leap of the said waters. 

If the fall is of the same width as the river, the water that strikes the 
bottom will leap up and then fall back again by each line that departs 
from the centre of the surging mass, and the farther they descend from 
this surging mass the more they spread out. And part is moved by the 
course of the stream, and as a consequence it is necessary for it to make 
three movements, each of which consumes a considerable portion of the 
foot of the bank. 

For that which descends from the summit of the surging mass 
throws itself towards the bottom, and since such descent is slanting it 
acquires a movement towards the bottom of the bank; and as this 
descent follows in part the general movement of the river, this surging 
mass falls with a threefold descending movement, one proceeding 
downwards, another towards the bank, another towards the course of 
the river. And all three consume the base of the bank, by reason of the 

X A list of words is added, descriptive of movement of water. 


great displacement occasioned by so much impetus; for if the river 
were to flow for a long way hugging the bank it would be able to find 
some stone which at some spot would protect a piece of this bank near 
to it; but this movement proceeds downward towards the bottom, for- 
ward towards the bank, downward towards the course o the stream, in 
such a way that each stone is struck by three different movements and 
on three different sides. 

From which it follows that if the soil is friable it crumbles away 
in a short time. i 74 l> 6 ] v -> 75 [ 2 7] r - 

[Of the movement of water bubbles] 

When one sees mountains rising in the running waters, rising in the 
form of bubbles, it serves as a sign of the great depth from which these 
bubbles spring after the percussion made by the water upon the bot- 
tom; and by the speed of its rebound it bores through and penetrates 
the other water and then turns towards the surface of the running 
water and passes through it, rising up in this way; thereafter acquiring 
weight it loses its first impetus and falls down again by each line round 
its centre, and returns again towards its bed. i 76 [28] v. 


Of the difference water makes in its course if its sides strike on a 
strand, a bank, or other water, that is in passing by a piece of stagnant 
water or running water crosswise. 

One should also observe what differences there are in rivers if they 
fall upon beds of different natures, namely upon stone or earth, or tufa 
or clay, sand or mud, or stagnant or running water, and this crosswise 
or slanting or opposite, or by the same line as the water itself, that is by 
the line of the same current but slower or swifter than that which it 
strikes, or more level or more slanting, 


One asks why the percussion of water within water makes lines of 
circular movements and eddies, and its leap is not straight as is that 
other which beats upon its shores and banks. 

Why bubbles are not continuous when the falls of the water are: 


The reason is that the water which flows above after falling is swifter 
than that which flows below; and when that below precipitates itself 
in some chasm it raises itself towards the surface with almost the same 
impetus, and sometimes subdues and overcomes the water that flows 
above and sometimes is subdued by it. 

Being thus in a state of equilibrium as to its power of movement 
sometimes one conquers and sometimes the other. 

r 77 [39] r. and v. 

Things lighter than water do not follow the course of the rebound 
and intersection of the water, but pass along the centre of its current or 
near the parts as they are found at the entrance of the currents, and are 
not impeded unless by equal pressure, because if the right wave of the 
rebound meets with the left, it is necessary, if they are of equal power, 
that the place of their percussion be thrown back equally. 

Consequendy things in this place which move upon the water, not 
being driven more by one percussion than by the other remain in the 
same line of current But if one of the forces of the wave be greater 
than the other, that is by the swiftness of its current, I do not mean 
force arising from a greater quantity of water, for if the one water was 
much less thick than the other this would not matter: for let us sup- 
pose one body of water to be less than double the other in volume and 
to acquire double its speed; now since these bodies of water clashing 
together are of equal size in their contact, as I have proved in the third 
of the fifth, the larger being a square braccio and the lesser of a half 
braccio, the lesser does not strike the greater unless it is in its half, and 
in the same way the greater strikes the lesser with its half, so that the 
contacts made by the percussions are equal in quantity and unequal in 
that the power is double, the speed of tie one being double that of the 


Sometimes there are many eddies which have a great current of 
water in the middle of them, and the more they approach the end of 
the current the greater they are. These are created on the surface by the 
waters that turn back after the percussion that they make in the most 
rapid current, for the front portions of these waters, being themselves 


slow, on being struck by the swift movement, are suddenly transformed 
into the said speed. Consequently the water which touches them behind 
is attached and drawn by force, and torn away from the other, so that it 
turns all in succession, one (wave) following the other with a like 
swiftness of movement, if it were not that such current at first cannot 
receive it so that at any rate it does not rise above it, and as this cannot 
be it is necessary for it to turn back and consume in itself these swift 
movements. From that time the said eddies with various revolving 
movements proceed to consume the impetus that has been begun. And 
they do not remain in the same positions, but after they have been 
formed thus, turning, they are borne by the impetus of the water in 
the same shape, in which they corne to make two movements; the one 
is made in itself by its own revolution, the other as it follows the course 
of the water which is carrying it along all the time that it is destroy- 
ing it. i 78 [30] r- and v -> 79 

[Air and water] 

The water which by a slight movement encloses, a little way below 
its surface, the air which is submerged with it, turns with a slight 
impetus out of the surface, carrying with it such covering of water that 
being of equal weight with this air it stands above it in the form of a 
half-spherical figure. 

But if this air is submerged with impetus it comes back out of the 
water with fury for the length of the movement made beneath the 
water; and pressed by its weight it leaps out of the water, breaks its 
surface with its impetus and flows on with straight course after the 
manner of wind emerging from bellows which discharges itself in a 
stream through the air; and therefore it does not, as does the former as 
it floats upon the water, remain enveloped in its surface. 

i 80 [32] v. 

How all the air which leaps back with the water does not remain on 
the surface but by its impetus submerges itself anew amid the revolu- 
tions of the waters: 

How the movements of the waters among the other waters are not 
obliged to move more by a straight line than a curved one, and how 
after leaping back as they wished these waters are not obliged to be at 
rest, but in order to return to a low place and with a revolving move- 


ment they go attending the course of the river until they have dis- 
charged the air that is enclosed within them on the surface of the 
sheet of water. * 8l [33] r - 

[Of water flowing into water} 


If the entry of the water into the sheet of water (pelago) is of circular 
shape the concavity of its base will be of the form of a crescent, receiv- 
ing the shingle within its circumference or within the two horns of this 

I ask whether if the current should make some bend it will become 
hollow at the bottom or in the middle or above, and the same thing as 
regards the leaps which follow afterwards against the bank of the rivers, 
the bed being of uniform substance, and also as to the bank where it is 
raised, where it leans and the methods of effecting its repair. 

i 81 [33] v. 

[Of falling water] 

I ask as to the shape that water assumes in the different slants of its 
descent in each of its falls, and what shape the concavity will have when 
the water strikes upon a bed of uniform substance; and I ask as to the 
shape the shingle will take which is left after the percussion of each of 
these, and the remedies when they are injured. i 82 [34] r. 


Because the straighter the river the swifter will its course be, and the 
more vigorously will it gnaw and consume the bank and its bed, it is 
therefore necessary either to enlarge these rivers considerably or to send 
them through many twistings and turnings or to divide them into a 
number of branches. 

And if the river through many twistings and turnings becomes slow 
and marshy through its many detours you ought then to straighten it, 
in such a way that the waters acquire sufficient movement and do not 
cause destruction to the banks or dikes; and if there should be depth 
near to some dike you ought to fill up the spot with gabions together 


with fascines and shingle, so that it may not become hollowed out by 
movement under the dike, and so by causing it to crumble the river 
may afterwards proceed to make a bend in your land or villa and there 
straighten its course. i 82 [34] v. 

[Of the earth carried by water] 

When the water in the floods commences to find a place where it 
can flow, it begins with its feeble inundation to strip and carry away 
the lightest things, and deposits them where its course becomes feeble, 
then as it grows it carries away the heavier things such as sand, and 
carries them over the former things and there leaves them, and even 
though the water should not increase, by the mere fact of its continu- 
ance it proceeds by degrees to carry away the things from the place 
where it flows; but by reason of their weight it cannot carry them so 
far forward as the first lighter things, and if it then carries away the 
heavier things it deposits them proportionately near to the spot from 
whence it took them. 

How to restore the soil to the places that have been uncovered and 
stripped bare by the courses of the waters on a hill or mountain or in 
sandy places. 

For the rains, or to provide an outlet for other waters, one ought to 
construct canals or mouths of rivers, for the places where they pass in 
so great current that they tend to become turbid by reason of the earth 
they carry with them and to be changed; then when they are at the 
place where you wish that they rid themselves of the soil, these canals 
of water are divided into many small channels of water, after the man- 
ner of furrows, and their violence is lessened and they grow clear again. 

i 8 3 [ 35 ]r. 
[Of flowing water] 

Where the river is constricted, it will have its bed stripped bare of 
earth, and the stones or tufa will remain uncovered by the soil. 

Where the river widens, the small stones and the sand will be 

Where the river widens considerably, there will be discharged the 
mud or the ooze and bits of timber and other light things. 

Where several currents of water run together, there will instantly be 
formed a hollow that will be navigable. 


Where the waters separate, the sand and ooze will be deposited and 
the bed will be raised in the shape of the half of a ship inverted. 

Beneath the rebounds of the water, there will be formed hills of sand 
or stones. 

Beneath the repercussions, that which rests under the rebound will 
become raised. 

Where the water finds the place higher, which forms an obstacle 
beneath it, it makes a greater and higher wave and then forms a deeper 
hollow. i 83 [35] v. 

Where you find much sand you will find at the end of it in front or 
behind shingle or bare tufa. 

Sand is discharged when waters meet in their course, for in such a 
spot nothing can remain that offers resistance to a current so reinforced; 
light waves drop their sand at the sides of the said current, and the 
sand as the current becomes less swift forms a cover to the shingle. 

Sometimes the lesser floods carry branches covered with leaves from 
the plains and deposit them in their small movements, and then, 
becoming stronger, heap sand upon the edges of these branches and still 
increasing carry there shingle and tall large stones. i 84 [36] r. 

[The rebounds of water} 

The rebounds that water makes which rise through the percussion 
of water which has fallen upon other water, are not carried between the 
equal angles of its percussion, but will leap to the surface by the shortest 
way, through the air that was submerged together with the water. 

i 84 [36] v. 

If a stone is thrown into still water it will form circles equidistant 
from their centre; but if into a moving river the circles formed will 
lengthen out and be almost oval in shape, and will travel on together 
with their centre away from the spot where it was first made, following 
the course of the [stream] ... i 87 [39] r. 


The waves are of [twelve] kinds, of which the first is made in the 
upper parts of the waters; the second is made above and below by the 
same path; the third is made above and below by contrary paths, and is 


not in the centre; the fourth is made so that from its centre upwards it 
runs in one direction and from this centre downwards it makes the 
opposite movement; the fifth flows downwards and not upwards; the 
sixth flows downwards and above has a contrary movement; the 
seventh is that of the submersions of waters by means of a spring that 
enters into the earth; the eighth is that of the submersions by means of 
eddies which are narrow above and wide below; the ninth is that of the 
eddies wide at the surface and narrow at the base; the tenth is of cylin- 
drical eddies; the eleventh of eddies that bend in regular curves 1 ; the 
twelfth is of the slanting eddies. Make here all the waves together, and 
all the movements by themselves, and all the eddies by themselves. 
Arrange thus the series in order separated one from the other. And so 
also the rebounds of how many kinds they are in themselves and also 
the falls. And set down the differences that there are in turbid waters, 
in their movements and percussions, and those that are clear; and 
similarly in waters that are violent and those that are sluggish; in those 
that are swollen and those that are shallow; and between the fury of 
pent-up rivers and those with a wide course; and of those that run over 
great stones or small ones or sand or tufa; and of those that fall from a 
height striking upon different stones with various leaps and bounds, 
and of those that fall by a straight path touching and resting upon a 
level bed; and of those that fall from a great height alone through the 
air; and of those that fall through the air in shapes that are round or 
thin or wide or separated or united. And then write down the natures 
of all the percussions: on the surface, in the centre, and at the bottom, 
and of their different slants, and the different natures of the objects and 
different shapes of the objects. 

And if you give movement to a sheet of water, whether by opening 
its sluices above, or in the middle, or below, show the differences that 
are caused by it falling or moving on the surface, and what effect it 
makes in entering with such fall upon the ground or in stagnant water, 
and how that by which it is moved at first maintains itself in a channel 
level or uneven, and how it produces all at once eddies and their re- 
cesses, as one sees in the basins of Milan, and the nature of the sudden 
rush of the rivers, and so also with those that grow little by little; of 
die waters also that cannot in the great floods pass through the arches 

1 M5. dequal nacuita. 


of the bridges which surmount them, and how the water that passes 
through these arches increases the impetus through having a great 
weight above. 87 [39] v., 88 [40] r. and v. 

[The water of mills] 

I ask whether if the impetus of the waters that turn the mills creates 
a protuberance either across above or below near the place of percus- 
sion, this percussion will have the same force as if this water ran in a 
straight line. i 89 [41] r. 


Rivers when straight flow with a much greater impetus in the centre 
of their breadth than they do at their sides. 

When the water has struck on the sides of rivers with equal percus- 
sion, if it find a part of the river narrower it will leap towards the 
middle of the river and these waves will make a new percussion be- 
tween themselves; as a consequence they will return again towards the 
banks, equally, and that water of conical shape, which is enclosed 
between the first percussion made upon the bank and the second made 
in the centre of the stream, will slacken at its base and be swift near to 
its crest. Striking the bottom they will afterwards rise equally to the 
height of the intersection; but always that of the centre will be swifter 
than that which leaps back. 

Water which moves along an equal breadth of river and on an equal 
bed will have as many different thicknesses as there are different slants 
in the bed where it runs; and by as much as it is swifter in one place 
than another so proportionately it will be more shallow. 

i 105 [57] v., 106 [58] n 


Water which falls from the height of a fathom will never return to 
the same height except in small drops, which will leap much higher 
because the motion of leaping back will be much more rapid than that 
of the descents. In fact when the water falls it buries with it a great 
quantity of air, and after the (other) water has been struck it leaps 
back towards its surface with a force which creates a movement almost 
as rapid as was that of the descent; but not actually so for the reason 


given in the second of the seventh, where it is stated that the movement 
of the rebound will never be so swift as was the descent of the substance 
which rebounds; or thus: a succeeding rebound will never be equal to 
that which precedes it. So that in consequence the rebound which the 
water makes proceeds from the base where it has been created, almost 
with the speed of the descent that has given it birth; and in addition to 
this there is added to it a second momentum which augments this 
motion, namely that of the air that is submerged by the fall of the 
water. This air clothed around with water bounds up with fury and 
leaps into its element like wind driven by the bellows; it carries with it 
the last of the water which is close to the surface, and by such an in- 
crease causes it to leap up much farther than its nature demanded. 

i 108 [60] v., 109 [61] r. 

The farther the circular wave is removed from its cause the slower 
will it become. i 114 [66] r. 

[The meeting of water-courses] 

If the courses of two lines of water which cross each other in the 
middle or in a part of their river-beds pass either the one into the other 
or the one over the other, do they then each leap back after the per- 
cussion? Certainly they leap, because it is impossible for the two bodies 
to pass one through the other. 

But after the two bodies have clashed together they will widen 
themselves at their point of contact, and after having struck they will 
recoil to an equal distance from the centre of the percussion. And that 
body which goes upwards follows its nature, and the other body below 
the centre of the impact which would wish to go downwards and 
cannot, increases that above. i 114 [66 J v. 


Make one side of the channel of glass and the remainder of wood; 
and let the water that strikes there have millet or fragments of papyrus 
mixed in it, so that one can see the course of the water better from their 
movements. And when you have made the experiment of these re- 
bounds fill the bed with sand mixed with small shingle; then smooth 


this bed and make the water rebound upon it; and watch where it rises 
and where it settles down. 

Then make the bank on the wooden side of mud, and watch its 
effects through the glass, and make it again in flowing water. 

i 115 [67] i. 
[Movements of water] 

If the water was a quantity endowed with sense 1 as it is a continuous 
one, the movement that it makes between the extreme elevations and 
depressions of its waves would be unequal. 

In effect the part that rises acquires degrees of slowness in each 
degree of movement, in such a way that at its greatest elevation it is 
in the extreme stage of slowness. 

And afterwards in descending it acquires degrees of speed in every 
degree of movement, so that at its lowest depth it acquires greater 
movement; therefore the resistance that ends its descent is that which 
receives the hurt, and that which ends the height of its elevation has no 

But if the quantity is continuous: the continuous quantity has equal 
movements when its river is of equal size and depth, because being all 
united together it is necessary that in all the parts of its movement each 
part draws and is drawn, pushes and is pushed, or drives and is driven. 
And it is necessary that this be with equal movement and power; and 
if it were not so the water would multiply more where it was slowest 
and would fail where it had most movement. 

i 115 [67] v., 116 [68] r. 

Where the water divides it rises; and afterwards as it falls down 
again it strengthens its course by the increased descent that follows. 

Where the waters join they rise; and then the near movement that 
follows becomes slow. i 116 [68] 

When in the courses of rivers there are two currents of water, com- 
mencing the one far from the other, which meet in a place where they 
clash together, they will rise up after this percussion, and their bed will 
be but little consumed because they depart from it; and afterwards they 
will fall back again as they separate, and fall asunder, and falling back 

1 MS. disscrcta. 


again they will strike and scrape upon their bed. By reason then of this 
percussion, which beats and scrapes the bed with its movement, a depth 
will be produced there; and this happens in the great currents of rivers. 

i 117 [69] r. 

[The height and depth of the waves} 


The greatest elevation of the waves will not wear away its bed be- 
neath itself; in effect it touches it but little, by the fifth of the sixth 
which says that everything weighs by the line of its movement; from 
which we may say that this wave moves towards the air that flies from 
its percussion and weighs towards the air. If however the amount of 
friction is slight, it will have but little force and will consume the bed 
but little. 


Whatever obstacle forms the chief cause in breaking the straight 
course of the water will be most consumed and displaced by it. 

Therefore we may say that if the air were the cause why the straight- 
ness of the elevation of the wave is broken it would be consumed by 
this percussion of water. But this air is not the cause of the breaking of 
such a course; the only cause of it is the force which the water acquires 
as it emerges from its element. And it would relax its pace in such a 
position if it were a sensitive quantity, but being as it is a continuous 
quantity it is necessary that one body of water pushes and the other 
draws, because they are united. i 117 [69] v. 

If the water moves more swiftly in the falling of the wave than in its 
rising, and at what point this water delays most. 

The water that moves in the formation of the waves will find itself 
of as great speed during its ascent as that of its descent, and it will have 
as much in the middle of its lowest depth as that of its greatest height. 
And if it was not of equal movement it would not be of equal depth or 
breadth; and if however it was of equal length and depth but not of 
equal movement it would form a great height in the place where it 
slackened most. i 118 [70] r. 


The water flows more strongly at the sides of a covered rock than 
above it and after it has passed it, and for this reason it twists the 
waves made by its rebounds, producing on its surface crescent-shaped 
figures. i 123 [75] r. 

[The different sorts of rebounds of water] 

The rebounds of the waters are of two kinds, that is they are formed 
from two causes; one is that of the lumps of the bed on which the water 
passes, the other is when the parts of the water that strike against the 
lumpy parts of the bank leap back to the opposite bank. These masses 
of water on striking leap back to the opposite bank and press and drive 
themselves upon the first wave that they meet, and swelling leap 
towards the sky; and each flies equally from the place where it has 
struck, until another wave drives it back and afterwards another drives 
it forward. 

So in succession they fill the surface of the rivers with a trellis pat- 
tern, always raising themselves to the positions of the above-mentioned 
percussions. i 127 [79] v. 

[Rule as to rebounds: experiment] 

I ask concerning the rebound: if the first rebound is ten braccia tell 
me how far will the second be. Dye the ball so that it marks the spot 
where it strikes upon the marble or other hard substance, study the 
position of each of the rebounds in succession, and so deduce the rule. 

i 128 [80] r. 

If you throw sawdust down into a running stream, you will be able 
to observe where the water turned upside down after striking against 
the banks throws this sawdust back towards the centre of the stream, 
and also the revolutions of the water and where other water either joins 
it or separates from it; and many other things. Kir. 


Water is nature's carter, it transforms the soil and carries to ... a 
great part . . . double. K 2 r. 



Simple movement: Many rivers there are that increase their waters 
at every state of movement without loss. 

Simple movement: Many there are that lose without ever acquiring. 

Composite movement: And there are a considerable number which 
acquire more than they lose. 

Composite movement: And a considerable number lose more than 
they acquire. K. 60 [u] v. 

I have written in how many ways water hollows out the bottom, and 
in how many ways it deposits earth upon the bottom. And the same of 
the banks: where it raises them and where it forms them, and in how 
many ways it hollows out the soil of the banks, and the estates where 
during its floods it goes spreading itself beyond its banks. 

K6 5 [18] r. 

The eddies of water are always produced in the middle water. 

The middle water is that above the mouth of the water which is bent 
across near to where it runs into the canal. 

The middle water is that between the water that is falling and that 
which is thrown back. K 93 [13] v. 

Should two streams of water encounter each other and then bend 
together in the same flight, the middle water will be found beyond this 
flight upon the current that has less power. 

The surface of the water which bends in leaving the straight line of 
its course for the lateral outlet will be always higher in the centre than 
at the sides. x 94 [14] r. 

Of the water that is poured through a hole of uniform size situated 
at the bottom of its reservoir, the part that is nearest to the wall of this 
bole will have greater height and greater movement than the lateral 
part. K 94 [14] v. 

When water is poured in different streams from one reservoir into 
another that will be higher above its hole which is poured through a 
hole of less width, and the proportion of the height will be the same 
as that of the width of the holes. K 94 [15] r. 


When two streams o water encounter each other and then pour 
through the same channel to the bed o a river, eddies are created there 
on the right hand and on the left, and sometimes these eddies of the 
right and left become reunited. K 96 [16] r. 

The water which moves in a river is either summoned or driven or 
moves of itself. If it is summoned or as one may say requisitioned 
what is it that requisitions it? If it is driven what is it that drives it? If 
it moves of itself this shows it to have a reasoning power; but in bodies 
which undergo continual change of shape it is impossible that there 
should be reasoning power, for in these bodies there is no judgment. 

K. 101 [21] v. 


All the embankments of rivers against which the waters strike ought 
to be so much the more slanting as the percussion of the water is of 
greater power. 

Water rises higher upon the bank against which it strikes when it 
finds this bank more slanting; and consequently descends with greater 
impetus to strike against the opposite bank. K 102 [22] v. 

What difference there is between the percussion of the same quantity 
of water when it falls through the air or falls shut up in a conduit: 

The water which falls in a perpendicular line becomes shrill at 
some stage of its descent. When it falls through a conduit this is left 
empty, and here the air fights with the water as will be said in its 
place. You should not forget however to say that this descent of the 
water is checked by the condensation of the air in the conduit where 
the water is. K 103 [23] v. 

If the waters that enter into a reservoir or issue forth from it have 
the holes of exit equal to the holes of entry, and the fall of the entry is 
longer than that of the exit, the entry will then be greater than the 
exit until the water of the basin rises, and then they will become equal 

K 104 [24] r. 

And if the fall of the entry is more beneath the surface than the 
fall of the exit, although they are of the same size, the entry will be 
greater than the exit until their powers equalise themselves. 


But if in this case the exit covers a longer space of the surface than 
the entry does then the exit will be greater than the entry. 

K 104 [24] v. 

What shape will the same quantity of water moving along the same 
slant have in order that it may be as swift as possible? 

Let it have that which will make least contact with the bottom, that 
is a half-circle. 

That water will be swifter when the part that makes eddies through 
striking upon the bottom and the sides is less in bulk than the rest; 
and this is the greatest river. K 105 [25] r. 

[Relation of wave and wind} [Diagram] 

The wave increases because the wind increases. 

D b c f the wind, strikes e f the water, and causes it to overflow; d a 
c c the second part of the same wind finds c e prepared to overflow, 
having come from e /, and comes behind it with its power; and dou- 
bles the power t v c f and so makes the wave double. K 106 [26] v. 

Whether the percussion made by the water upon its object, is equal 
in power to the whole mass of the water that strikes when it finds itself 
in the air, or no. 

Which is the easier, to raise the sluice of the mill with the water 
flowing, up or down or across, or when the water is still. 

K 117 [37] r. 

Vessels of equal capacity and full of water in double proportion and 
which empty themselves by holes made in their lowest depth, in each 
degree of time will change the degrees of proportions in the copious- 
ness of their discharges. 

I maintain that if at the commencement of the discharge the water 
is of double quantity, the amount of the discharge is immediately 
double in the one case what it is in the other, varying immediately; in 
such a way that if the descents are divided in six stages in the lesser 
vessel and twelve in the larger one, when the lesser vessel has had a 
drop cf five stages and the greater five also, this lesser vessel is left 
with one stage of height of water and the larger with seven, which is 
in proportion seven times as great. K 128 [48] r. 


[Fall of water] 

Water which falls in the form of a pyramid by a perpendicular line 
upon a level surface will leap up again to a height and will end its 
point towards the base of this pyramid, and will then intersect and 
pass beyond it and fall down. LIT. 

[Air replacing water] 

Why the air which fills up the void in a globe from whence the 
water emerges, enters with the same impetus as that of the water which 
is poured out. Whatever is resting upon this water turns in contrary 
movement to that of the water. L 17 v. 


The long thing of uniform thickness swells as much in its two 
opposite sides as it is lowered in its two other opposite sides. 

Here the water which is confined in the parallel river increases as 
much in height as it is lacking in breadth; consequently as it falls it 
hollows out the place where it has struck. 

The parallel rivers may at some part of their length be confined in 
two ways, namely between their surface and their bed or upon their 
opposite sides. L 30 r. 

[Falls of water] 

When two streams of water meet at an extremely sharp angle the 
more powerful hollows out its side of the base most, and makes a sud- 
den depth. 

This is the true way of giving the fall while conserving the bank to 
the water which descends from the said bank. L 31 v. 

[The course of rivers] 

The beds of the rivers uncovered naturally, do not give true indica- 
tions of the nature and quantity of the objects carried by the waters, 
because in the deep waters many places are filled with sand, and after- 
wards in the particular lateral courses of the rivers these deposits of 
sand are borne above the shingle on which they rested or laid bare 
beneath, so causing the continual subsidence of the raised bank of this 
sand which by reason of its lightness accompanies it in its course and 
is then deposited where the current of the water becomes more 


The twistings of rivers in flood are such as to burst every dike and 
all the order that the river keeps when low. L 32 r. 

[Falls and courses of water] 

Water that has fallen with great impetus from its dam reproduces 
the twistings of the rivers according to the line of its fall, but when the 
waters subside, although the line a b keeps its place even if this river 
should swell again, the canal a b will become filled with sand, and the 
volume of the water will follow its natural course. L 3 2 v * 

[Water in percussion] 

When water strikes it rises, and it acquires weight in proportion as 
it leaps out of its common surface; this fallen back upon, the other 
water strikes it and penetrates as far as its bed, which it consumes 
perpetually; and such a hollow is formed in the length of the sides of 
the object struck. 

To guard against this a flat surface may be formed round any 
column which has a firm base and is of such breadth that the water 
that falls back is compelled to find it. L 33 r. 

The less curved the bank where the leap of the river strikes it the 
farther removed will the second leap be from the spot from which the 
first departed. L 36 v. 

The eddies of rivers are of several kinds; of these some are hollow 
in the centre after the manner of a concave pyramid; others full in the 
centre like a raised cone; some throw things up from the bottom, 
others submerge things borne on the surface of the water; and the one 
creates a hollow underneath the bank which forms its side, the other 
fills it up. 

These eddies serve the purpose by their revolutions and delays of 
equalising the excessive speed of the rivers; and as therefore the eddies 
at the side are not sufficient, by reason of the narrowness of the rivers, 
it becomes necessary that new kinds of eddies should be created which 
shall turn the water over from the surface to the bottom and at various 
different angles; of these some meet at the bottom and churn up all 
the soil which the eddy of the surface has in course of time deposited. 
And the other eddies do the same against the banks of the rivers. 

B.M. 30 v. 


A book of how to drive back armies by the fury of floods caused by 
the letting loose of waters. 

A book of how to inundate armies by closing the outlets of the 

A book to show how the waters bring down in safety logs hewn in 
the mountains. 

A book of how boats are forced against the rush of the rivers. 

A book of how to raise great weights by the simple increase of the 

A book of how to guard against the rush of rivers so that cities may 
not be struck by them. B.M. 35 r. 

Of the inequality in the hollow of a ship. 

Book of the inequality of the curve of the sides of ships. 

Book of the inequality in the position of the helm. 

Book of the inequality in the keel of ships. 

Book of the difference in the holes through which water is poured 

Book of the water contained in vessels with air and of its move- 

Book of the motion of water through a syphon. 

Book of the clashing together and concourse of water proceeding 
from different directions. 

Book of the varying shapes of the banks along which the rivers pass. 

Book of the various shoals formed below the locks of the rivers. 

Book of the twistings and bendings of the currents of the rivers. 

Book of the different places whence the waters of the rivers are 

Book of the shapes of the banks of the rivers and their permanence. 

Book of the perpendicular fall of water upon various objects. 

Book of the course of water when impeded in various positions. 

Book of the various shapes of the obstacles which impede the course 
of the waters. 

Book of the hollow or rotundity formed at the bottom round the 
various obstacles. 

Book of how to conduct navigable canals over or beneath the rivers 
which intersect them. 


Book of the soils which drink up the waters of the canals and of the 
means of protection. 

Book of the creation of channels for rivers which quit their bed 
when it is filled up with soil. B.M. 45 r. 

[Of water] 

This wears away the lofty summits of the mountains. It lays bare 
and carries away the great rocks. It drives away the sea from its ancient 
shores for it raises its base with the soil that it carries there. It shatters 
and devastates the high banks; nor can any stability ever be discerned 
in these which its nature does not suddenly bring to naught. It seeks 
out with its rivers every sloping valley where it may carry off or de- 
posit fresh soil. Wherefore many rivers may be said to be those through 
which all the element has passed, and the sea has gone back many 
times to the sea, and no part of the earth is so high but that the sea 
has been at its foundations, and no depth of the ocean is so low but 
that the loftiest mountains have their bases there. And so it is some- 
times sharp and sometimes strong, sometimes acid and sometimes bit- 
ter, sometimes sweet and sometimes thick or thin, sometimes it is seen 
bringing hurt or pestilence, sometimes health-giving, sometimes poi- 
sonous. So one would say that it suffers change into as many natures 
as are the different places through which it passes. And as the mirror 
changes with the colour of its object so it changes with the nature of 
the place through which it passes: health-giving, noisome, laxative, 
astringent, sulphurous, salt, incarnadined, mournful, raging, angry, 
red, yellow, green, black, blue, greasy, fat, thin. Sometimes it starts a 
conflagration, sometimes it extinguishes one; is warm and is cold; 
carries away or sets down, hollows out or raises up, tears down or es- 
tablishes, fills up or empties, raises itself up or burrows down, speeds 
or is still, is the cause at times of life or death, of increase or privation, 
nourishes at times and at times does the contrary, at times has a tang 
of salt, at times is without savour, at times submerges the wide valleys 
with great floods. With time everything changes. B.M. 57 r. 

At times it goes twisting to the northern parts, eating away the base 
of its bank; at times it overthrows the bank opposite on the south; at 
times it turns towards the centre of the earth consuming the base 
which supports it; at times leaps up seething and boiling towards the 


sky; at times revolving in a circle it confounds its course; at times it 
extends on the western side robbing the husbandmen o their tilth; at 
times it deposits the- soil it has carried away in the eastern parts. And 
thus at times it digs out, and at times fills in where it has taken away 
and where it has made a deposit. Thus without any rest it is ever re- 
moving and consuming whatever borders upon it. So at times it is 
turbulent and goes ravening in fury, at times clear and tranquil it 
meanders playfully with gentle course among the fresh verdure. At 
times falls from the sky in rain or snow or hail; at times forms great 
clouds out of fine mist. At times moved of itself, at times by the force 
of others; at times gives increase to things that are born by its life- 
giving moisture, at times shows itself either fetid or fall of pleasant 
odours. Without it nothing can exist among us. At times it is bathed 
in the hot element and dissolving into vapour becomes mingled with 
the atmosphere, and drawn upwards by the heat it rises until having 
found the cold region it is pressed closer together by its contrary na- 
ture, and the minute particles become attached together. And as when 
the hand under water squeezes a sponge which is well saturated so 
that the water shut up in it as it escapes through the crevices is driven 
into the rest and drives this from its position by its wave, so it is with 
the cold which the warm moisture compresses, for when it has reduced 
it to a more solid form the air that is pent up within it breaks by 
force the weakest part, and hisses just as though it was coming out of 
bellows when they are pressed down by an insupportable weight. And 
thus in various positions it drives away the lighter clouds which form 
obstacles in its course. B.M. 57 v. 

. . . stage of declivity. Water initiates its own movement. 

Book of the various ways of levelling waters. 

Book of how to divert rivers from places where they do damage. 

Book of how to straighten the course of rivers which cover too much 

Book of how to divide rivers into many branches and make them 

Book of how waters pass through seas with different movements. 

Book of how to deepen the beds of rivers by different currents of 


Book of how to control rivers so that the small beginnings of the 
damage they cause may not increase. 

Book of the different movements of waters which pass through 
channels of different forms. 

Book of how to prevent the small rivers diverting a larger one as 
their waters strike it. 

Book of how to ascertain the lowest level in the current of the sur- 
face of rivers. 

Book of the origin of rivers which flow from the lofty summits of 
the mountains. 

Book of the variety of the movements of waters in their rivers. 

B.M. 122 r. 

\Why the beds of straight rivers are deeper in the centre than at the 

The current of a straight river is higher in the centre than at the 
sides, and rises towards the sky with greater waves and turns in greater 
depth towards the centre of the earth. 

And this occurs because the current is the clashing together or inter- 
section of the reflex movement of the waves, which leap back after 
striking against the bank and running back to the opposite bank 
clash with the contrary movements, and these resisting each other and 
neither being able to penetrate into the other leap back high out of 
the water, and then falling back having acquired weight while in the 
air plunge beneath the water there where they strike it. 

B.M. 135 v. 

How rivers widen their valleys and wear away the roots of the 
mountains at their sides: 

The bases of the hills as their valleys grow deeper are bent back 
towards the course of the river, as though they should wish to de- 
mand back from the speeding river the soil of which it has despoiled 

This proceeds from the nineteenth of this treatise which says: the 
current of the river eats away the base of the mountain on one side 
where it strikes and gives it back to the opposite side to which it is 

In great valleys the river changes its bed. 


The rivers in great valleys make greater changes in their beds in 
proportion as they are farther away from the roots of the mountains. 
This is proved by the ninth of this which says: the largest rivers flow 
through the largest valleys which have been made by them, and by 
reason of their size they are continually consuming the waves that flow 
from their banks, carrying them always back to the current of the 


The mouths of rivers are continually bending and descending behind 
the course of their principal stream, and this proceeds from the former 
[rule] which says: water takes away with its wave from the bank 
where it strikes and gives back to the opposite bank where it is 

Valleys are continually growing deeper. 

Valleys continually grow wider and deeper and rivers continually 
change their position, B.M. 161 r. 


The water which falls in a perpendicular line through a round pipe 
upon a level place will make a circumambient wave round the site of 
its percussion, within the circumference of which the water will move 
very rapidly and be spread very thinly round about this place which 
has been struck, and at the end it will strike into the wave produced 
by it which seeks to return to the place of the percussion. 

B.M. 167 v. 

Water is that which serves the vital humour of this arid earth. 

It is the cause which moves it through its veins contrary to the 
natural course (desire) of weighty things; it is like that which moves 
the humours in all kinds of living bodies, and . * . 

And as the water is driven up from the lower part o the vine 
towards its severed stems and afterwards falls back to its roots, pene- 
trates these and rises again anew, so from the lowest depth of the sea 
the water rises to the tops of the mountains, and falls down through 
their burst veins and returns to the sea and rises again anew. Thus up 


and down, in and out, unresting, now with fortuitous, and now with 
natural motion, now in its liberty and now constrained by its mover, it 
goes revolving and, after returning in force to its mover, rises again 
anew and then falls anew; so as one part rises the other descends. 

Thus from the lowest depths of the sea the water rises up to the 
summits of the mountains and falls down low through the burst veins, 
and at the same time other water is rising: so the whole element 
ranges about and makes its passage many times through the rivers 
that fall into the sea. 

At one time it becomes changed to the loftiest clouds, and afterwards 
it is pent up within the deep caverns of the earth. 

It has nothing of itself, but moves and takes everything, as is clearly 
shown when it is distilled. 

Thus hither and thither, up and down, it ranges, never resting at all 
in quietude, always flowing to help wherever the vital humour fails. 

Now taking away the soil, now adding to it, here depositing logs 
there stones here bearing sand there mud, with nothing stable in bed 
or bank: 

Now rushing on with headlong course, now descending in tran- 
quillity, now showing itself with fierce aspect, now appearing bright 
and calm, now mingling with the air in fine spray, now falling down 
in tempestuous rain; now changed to snow or storms of hail, now 
bathing the air with fine rain; so also now turning to ice and now hot; 
never keeping any stability; now rising aloft in thin cloud, compressing 
the air where it shuts it in, so that it moves through the other air after 
the fashion of a sponge squeezed beneath the water, when what is 
enclosed within it is driven out through the rest of the water. 

B.M. 210 r. 

The heat that is poured into animated bodies moves the humours 
which nourish them. 

The movement made by this humour is the conservation of itself 
and the vivification of the body which contains it. 

Water is that which serves the vital humour of the arid earth; it is 
poured within it, and flowing with unceasing vigour through the 
spreading veins it replenishes all the parts that depend of necessity on 
this humour. 


And it flows from the vast depths of the mighty ocean in the deep 
wide caverns that lie hid within the bowels of the earth, whence 
through the spreading veins upwards against its natural course in con- 
tinual ascent to the high summits of the mountains it returns through 
the burst veins to the deep. 

Water is that which serves the vital humour of the arid earth; and 
the cause which moves it through the veins is just that which moves 
the humours in all the different species of animated bodies. 

B.M. 234 r. 

Water which serves as the vital humour of the arid earth and for 
this same cause moves through the spreading veins, is poured into it 
and works within it as does the blood in human bodies. 

The same cause moves the water through its spreading veins as that 
which moves the blood in the human species, and as through the burst 
veins in the top of a man the blood from below issues forth, so through 
the burst veins in the summits of the mountains the waters from below 
are poured out. 

Water after having issued forth from the veins of the earth is aban- 
doned by the moving cause which led it there. 

Water in falling from the high summits observes in its movement 
the desire of all the other heavy things. B.M. 234 v. 

And that which with the utmost admiration of those who contem- 
plate it raises itself from the lowest depth of the sea to the highest 
summits of the mountains, and pouring through the broken veins re- 
turns to the shallow parts of the sea, and again rises with swiftness 
and returns in like descent, and thus in course of time its whole ele- 
ment circulates. 

So from high to low, so passing in and out, now with natural and 
now with fortuitous movement it proceeds, together and united. So 
with continual revolution it goes ranging round, after the manner of 
the water of the vine, which as it pours through its severed branches 
and falls back upon its roots rises again through the passages, and 
falling back returns in a similar revolution. 

The water which sees the air through the broken veins of the high 
summits of the mountains, is suddenly abandoned by the power which 


led it there; and when the water escapes from the forces which raise it 
to a height it resumes in liberty its natural course. 

In the same way, so does the water that rises from the low roots of 
the vine to its lofty summit, and falling through the severed branches 
upon the primal roots mounts anew to the place whence it fell. 

B.M. 235 r. 

Water is just that which is appointed to serve as the vital humour of 
this arid earth, and the cause which moves it through its spreading 
veins, contrary to the natural course of heavy things, is just what 
moves the humours in all the species of animated bodies. 

This it is which to the complete stupefaction of the beholders rises 
from the lowest depths of the sea to the highest summits of the moun- 
tains, and pouring out through the burst veins returns to the depths of 
the sea and rises again swifdy and again descends as aforesaid. So 
from the outer parts, to the inner, so turning from the lower to the 
higher, at times it rises in fortuitous movement, at times rushes down 
in natural course. So combining these two movements in perpetual 
revolution it goes ranging through the channels of the earth. 

B.M. 236 v. 


Either the water has weight or it has not weight. And if it has 
weight, why does not it bend the leaves borne on the bed where it 
rests? And if it does not bend them, it does not give its gravity to the 
bottom of the water. And if it does not give its gravity, what supports 
it? Its bed supports it, but it does not receive weight, because it is 
proved that water has no weight except above an element lighter than 
itself such as air and fire, and other liquids such as oil and the like. 
And if this is the case, why does a vase in the air weigh more when 
full of water than when full of air? The water does not weigh on 
their sides, but the vase when filled has weight in the air, which it 
would not have under water except to the extent of the weight of the 
material of which the vase is made. And the sea does the same upon 
its vase the earth, and the shores uncovered to the air are the lips of 
the vase that receives it. Which vase, being conjoined to the rest of 
the earth, throws its weight upon the air of its antipodes in the increase 


of the sea, because such antipodean seas balance each other in their 
weights through being opposite; and the inequality produced their 
weights, and from this caused the sea to be changing its position con- 
tinually, the centre of gravity of the earth together with the water 
also changing its position. B.M. 266 v. 


Because n c is of a width similar to a o, and in like manner because 
m i is slightly less, these waters will be almost all at one level. 

Forster m 32 v. 

The water a b will be very considerably higher than the water d e. 

The water r m will be almost equal, and the part o of the back-cur- 
rent will be extremely shallow and will hollow out the bed; p will be 
higher by reason of the percussion, x lower at the mill . . . 

Forster in 33 r. 


When within the smooth water you see a spreading eddy there is a 
fall and rebound of water. Forster in 40 r. 


Why do the lines of the water pouring into a hole not direct them- 
selves to its centre? Forster in 75 v. 

Why do the circles of the water not break when they intersect? 

Forster in 76 r. 

Why the water is higher in one part of the sea or river than in an- 
other, and why in many rapidly moving eddies the water is lower in 
the centre of the eddies than at the sides. 

On the Movements of Liquids by Galen. Quaderni n 16 r. 

Water cannot move of itself unless it descends, and if it moves witta 
out descending it is moved by something else, and if it moves without 
being moved by anything else it is a reflex movement and of short life, 

Quaderni n 16 v* 


On how to bend the course o a river through its valley. 

And you who desire to control the course of the river and to t> 
obeyed by it, you only need to cause its current to bend, for where 
this bends it wears away the bottom and draws after it all the rest of 
the water of its river. Quaderni iv 2 r. 


The current of water is the concourse of the reflections which re- 
bound from the bank of the river towards its centre, in which con- 
course the two streams of water thrown back from the opposite banks 
of the river encounter each other; and these waters as they encounter 
each other produce the biggest waves of the river, and as these fall 
back into the water they penetrate it and strike against the bottom as 
though they were a substance heavier than the rest of the water, and 
rub against the bottom, ploughing it up and consuming it, and carry- 
ing off and transporting with them the material they have dislodged. 
And therefore the greatest depth of the water of a river is always be- 
low the greatest current. 

It is possible for water in a brief time to perforate and make a passage 
through stone. Quaderni iv 2 r. 

Watch the movement of the surface of water, how like it is to that 
of hair, which has two movements, one following the undulation of 
the surface, the other the lines of the curves : thus water forms whirl- 
ing eddies, part following the impetus of the chief current, part the 
rising and falling movement. Windsor: Drawings 12579 r. 

The movement of the wave is swifter than the movement of thr 
water that produces it. This is seen by throwing a stone into still water, 
for it creates around the spot where it strikes a circular movement 
which is swift, and the water which creates this circular swelling does 
not move from its position nor do the objects which float on the sur- 
face of the water. Leic. 14 v. 

[With drawing of section of river in which arc the words 'Arno*, 
'Rifredi\ 'Mugnone'] 
When a lesser river pours its waters into a greater and this greater 


flows from the opposite bank, the course o the lesser river will be bent 
by the onset of the greater. And this occurs because when this greater 
river fills up the whole of its bed with water it comes to form an eddy 
under the mouth of this river, and thus drives with it the water that 
has been poured out by the lesser river. When the lesser river pours 
its waters into the greater river which has its current crossing the 
mouth of the lesser river, its waters will bend in the direction of the 
current of the greater river. Leic. 15 r. 


Book i of water in itself 

Book 2 of the sea 

Book 3 of the springs 

Book 4 of rivers 

Book 5 of the nature of the depths 

Book 6 of the objects 

Book 7 of different kinds of gravel 

Book 8 of the surface of water 

Book 9 of the things that move in it 

Book 10 of the means of repairing [the banks of] rivers 

Book ii of conduits 

Book 12 of canals 

Book 13 of machines turned by water 

Book 14 of how to make water ascend 

Book 15 of the things which are consumed by water. Leic. 15 v. 


Whether the flow and ebb are caused by the moon or sun, or are the 
breathing of this machine of the earth. How the flow and ebb differ in 
different countries and seas. 

How in the end the mountains will be levelled by the waters, seeing 
that they wash away the earth which covers them and uncover their 
rocks, which begin to crumble and are being continually changed into 
soil subdued alike by heat and frost. The waters wear away their bases 


and the mountains bit by bit fall in ruin into the rivers which have 
worn away their bases, and by reason of this ruin the waters rise in a 
swirling flood and form great seas. 

How in violent tempests the waves throw down every light thing 
and suck much earth into the sea, which causes the water of the sea 
to be turbid over a wide space. 

How loose stones at the base of wide steep-sided valleys when they 
have been struck by the waves become rounded bodies, and many 
things do the same when pushed or sucked into the sea by these 

How the waves quiet down and make long stretches of calm water 
within the sea without any movement when two opposite winds meet 
together at this spot; thus at these meeting places various shapes made 
up of calm sea are visible surrounded by the tiny waves of a moderate 
sea. Ldc. 17 v. 


Water of itself does not move unless it descends. 

That water will be highest which is farthest removed from the centre 
of its sphere. And that surface of water is said to be lowest which is 
nearest to the centre of its sphere. 

No surface of water which is contiguous to the air is lower than the 
surface of its sphere. The waters of the salt seas are fresh at their maxi- 
mum depth. The waters range with perpetual movement from the 
lowest depths of the seas to the topmost summits of the mountains, 
not following the law of heavy things; and in this instance its action 
resembles that of the blood of animals which is always moving from 
the sea of the heart and flowing towards the summit of their head; 
and so when a vein there has burst open, as one sees if a vein bursts in 
the nose, the whole of the blood from below rises up to the height 
where the vein has burst. 

When the water gushes forth from the burst vein in the earth it 
follows the law of other things which are heavier than the air and so 
always seeks the low places. 

That water will be swifter which descends by the less slanting line. 
And that water will be slower which moves along a more slanting line. 


The Nile and the other rivers o great size have very many times 
poured out the whole of the element of water and restored it to the 
sea. The veins flow with infinite ramifications through the body of the 
earth. The waters assume as many different natures as the places are 
different through which they pass. If it were possible to make a well 
which should pass through the earth on the opposite side and for a 
river to descend through this well, the head of the river which entered 
there first would descend through this well and pass the centre of the 
elements without making any reflex movement, and it would pour as 
much water on the far side of this centre as it had from the opposite 

And if, because of some deep valley, the line on the opposite side of 
the well were shorter than on this side, this water would fill up the 
valley, however large it was,"until it equalled the weight of the water 
in the well, although in some part the centre (of gravity) of the water 
and of the earth united together would move somewhat from its first 
position through the weight of the water, which would be increased 
on the opposite side of the earth where it was not at first. The centre 
(of gravity) of the water and earth joined together is moved when 
the weight of the sea moves because it is carried by the winds. 

Leic. 21 v. 


How the bottoms of rivers and ditches become trampled by big 
animals and this causes the muddy waters to escape and they thus 
leave in their course the soil in which they were loitering. How in the 
manner described above canals may be constructed through level lands. 
How to convey away the soil from canals which have become choked 
up with mud by the opening of certain sluices which are moved up- 
wards by the canal. 

How one ought to straighten rivers. How one ought so to provide 
that rivers do not sweep away other men's possessions. How one ought 
to maintain the beds of rivers. How one ought to maintain the banks. 
How the banks when broken should be repaired. How one ought to 
regulate the impetus of rivers in order to strike terror into the enemy 
so that he may not enter the valleys of this river to damage them. 

How the river in order to be crossed by your army ought to be con- 


verted into many small branches. How one ought to ford rivers below 
the rows of horses so that they may protect the infantry from the rush 
of the water. 

How by the use of wine-skins an army is able to cross a river by 
swimming. How the shores of all the seas that touch one another are 
of equal height, and are the lowest part of the land which meets the 
air. Of the manner of swimming of fishes; of the way in which they 
leap out of the water as may be seen with dolphins, for it seems a 
marvellous thing to make a leap upon something which does not stand 
firm but slips away. 

Of the manner of swimming of animals of long shape such as eels 
and the like. Of the way of swimming against the currents and great 
falls of rivers. Of the way in which fishes swim when they are round 
in shape. How animals which do not have the hoof cleft asunder are 
not able to swim. How all the other animals which have feet with toes 
are by nature able to swim, except man. In what way a man ought to 
learn to swim. Of the way in which a man should rest upon the water. 
How a man ought to defend himself against the whirlpools or eddies 
of the waters which suck him down to the bottom. How a man when 
sucked down to the bottom has to seek the reflex current which will 
cast him out of the depths. How he ought to propel himself with his 
arms. How he ought to swim on his back. 

How he can only remain under water for such time as he can hold 
his breath. 

How by an appliance many are able to remain for some time under 
water. How and why I do not describe my method of remaining under 
water for as long a time as I can remain without food; and this I do 
not publish or divulge on account of the evil nature of men who 
would practice assassinations at the bottom of the seas by breaking the 
ships in their lowest parts and sinking them together with the crews 
who are in them; and although I will furnish particulars of others they 
are such as are not dangerous, for above the surface of the water 
emerges the mouth of the tube by which they draw in breath, sup- 
ported upon wine-skins or pieces of cork. 

How the waves of the seas continually consume their promontories 
and rocks. How the shores of the seas grow continually towards the 


centre of the sea. The reason why the gulfs of the seas are created. The 
cause why the gulfs become filled up with earth or seaweed. 

The cause why round about the shores of the seas there is found a 
large high bank called the mound of the sea. 

Why the waves are higher when they touch the bottom nearer to the 
shore than they are on the high sea. 

How at the mouths of certain valleys the gusts of wind strike down 
upon the waters and scoop them out in a great hollow, and carry the 
water up into the air in the shape of a column and of the colour of 

And this same thing I once saw taking place on a sand-bank in the 
Arno, where the sand was hollowed out to a depth of more than a 
man's stature, and the gravel of it was removed and whirled a great 
distance apart, and assumed in the air the form of a mighty campanile; 
and the summit of it grew like the branches of a great pine, and then 
it bent on meeting the swift wind which passed over the mountains. 

How the wave is least towards the approaching wind because the 
bank serves it as a shield. 

How the water that finds itself between the percussions of the waves 
of the sea becomes changed into mist. 

Of eddies wide at the mouth and narrow at the base. 

Of eddies very wide at the base and narrow above. 

Of eddies of the shape of a column. 

Of eddies formed between two masses of water that rub together. 

Leic. 22 v. 

How waves do not penetrate one another but leap back from the 
place where they have struck; and every reflex movement flies away 
at equal angles from the striking place. 

The reflex movement of water within water will always be of the 
same shape as its falling movement. By this reflex movement I do not 
mean that which springs back within the air but that which follows 
along its surface. 

As the wave of the sand moves considerably more slowly than the 
wave of the water that produces it, so the wave of the water created by 
the wind is much slower than the wave of the wind that produces it, 
that is the wave of the air. The wave of the air performs the same 


function within the element o fire as does the wave of the water 
within the air, or the wave of the sand, that is earth, within the water; 
and their movements are in the same proportion one to another as is 
that of the motive powers within them. 

The more powerful current will cleave asunder the less powerful 
and pass through the middle of it. Currents of equal power which 
clash together leap back from the site of their percussion. A whole 
mass of water in its breadth, depth and height is full of innumerable 
varieties of movements, as is shown on the surface of water of a mod- 
erate degree of turbulence, in which one sees continually gurglings 
and vortices, with various eddies formed of the more turbid water 
from the bottom that rises to the surface. How every seven years the 
waters of the Adige rise and then fall, and it makes a famine as it 
rises. Leic. 23 r. 

How water has tenacity in itself and cohesion between its particles. 
This is seen from the fact that a drop before separating itself from the 
remainder stretches itself out as far as it can, and offers resistance in 
its union until it is conquered by the excessive weight of the water 
which is continually increasing upon it. How water serves as a magnet 
for other water. This is seen in the process of a drop becoming de- 
tached from the remainder, this remainder being stretched out as far as 
it can through the weight of the drop which is extending it; and after 
the drop has been severed from this mass the mass returns upwards with 
a movement contrary to the nature of heavy things. It may be seen 
how the larger drop of water instantly takes up into itself the smaller 
drops which come into contact with it; and the minute particles of 
moisture diffused through the air act in the same way, for they be- 
come compressed, making themselves a magnet one for another until 
at last their weight so increases as to conquer the resistance of the air 
that first sustained them, and so they descend in the form of rain. 

It may be shown with a bubble of water how this water is of such 
uniform fineness that it clothes an almost spherical body formed out 
of air somewhat thicker than the other; and reason shows us this 
because as it breaks it makes a certain amount of noise. Leic. 23 v. 


It is possible to devise obstructions which will preserve the embank- 
ment against the friction of the current. 

You should therefore cause blocks of coarse shingles to be con- 
structed ten braccia apart; and let them be ten braccia wide with 
height varying according to the height of the embankment and of a 
thickness of three braccia. And they should be set to slant in the direc- 
tion from which the water comes; and each of itself will serve as a 
shield to the water and throw it back towards the centre of the stream. 

When the obstruction covered by the water slants very considerably 
in the direction from which the water comes, the stroke of the water 
will only cause a small hollow in front of this obstruction and it will 
deposit a considerable quantity of soil behind it. 

If the obstruction is entirely upright and the water flows over it it 
will form a deep hollow in front of it and will only deposit a small 
amount of soil behind it. And if the obstruction has a lesser obstruc- 
tion in front of it which leans against it there will be no hollow in 
front of this lesser obstruction for so far as its bulk extends. If the 
obstruction have another near behind it the hill of sand will be sud- 
denly cut and dug out in a new hollow. 

How the rivers, in their great floods, fill up all their greatest depths 
with sand or stones, except the places where the river is confined, as 
when it passes through the arches of bridges or other constricted 
places; and it does this because behind these arches it strikes against 
the front of their columns, and rises in a swirling flood, and raises it- 
self, and so with fury makes up for the delay that has taken place 
before the said bridge or other object. Leic. 24 r. 

If the obstructions of the waters are permanent the deep places of 
the rivers caused by them will also be permanent. And if the obstruc- 
tion of these waters is movable the deep places caused by it will also 
be movable. And if the movable obstruction is near the bank of the 
river it immediately will become the cause of bending the whole 
river; and this is due to the fact that the water which passes between 
the obstruction and the bank hollows out this bank. And even though 
the obstruction proceed upon the bed of the river behind the current 
of the waters, it does not follow that the concavity already made in 
the bank will not proceed continually to grow and increase because 


of the water that ranges within it, as is shown by the fourth of the 
third; and that the water which leaps back from it to the opposite 
bank will not create another similar concavity in this bank; and this 
will then proceed continuously to increase, and then it returns leaping 
back beneath the first concavity; and so it proceeds time after time 
until this impetus is consumed amid the universal current of the river. 

Leic. 24 v. 


These are the cases that have to stand in the beginning: 
The air which is submerged together with the water which has 
struck upon the other water returns to the air, penetrating the water 
in sinuous movement, changing its substance into a great number of 
forms. And this occurs because the light thing cannot remain under 
the heavy, rather is it continually pressed by the part of the liquid 
which rests upon it; and because the water that stands there perpen- 
dicular is more powerful than the other in its descent, this water is 
always driven away by the part of the water that forms its coverings, 
and so moves continually sideways where it is less heavy and in conse- 
quence offers less resistance, according to the fifth of the second. And 
because this has to make its movement by the shortest way it never 
spreads itself out from its path except to the extent to which it avoids 
that water which covers it above. 

When the air enclosed within the water has arrived at its surface it 
immediately forms the figure of a half-sphere, and this is clothed with 
an extremely thin film of water. This occurs of necessity because water 
has always cohesion in itself, and this is the more potent as the water 
is more sticky; and this air having reached the opening of the surface 
of the water and not finding there any further weight to press upon 
it, raises its head through the surface of the water with as great a 
weight of water joined to it as the aforesaid tenacity can have; and 
it stops there in a perfect circle as the base of a half sphere, which 
has the aforesaid perfection because its surface has been uniformly 
expanded by the uniform power of the air. And it cannot be more 
than a half-sphere because spherical bodies attain their greatest width 
at their diameter; and if this air that is enclosed were more than a 
half-sphere the base would be less than where the diametral line is, 


and consequently the arc of this half-sphere would not have shoulders 
or real resistance in its weakest, that is its widest part, and therefore 
it would come about that it would break in this spot of its greatest 
width, because the weakest part of any arc is always the end of its 
greatest width. 

The air emerges with impetus in spherical form clothed with an 
extremely thin film of water, away from the body of the water; and 
this air by reason of the weight that it has acquired cannot pour itself 
into the other air, but held back by the adhesiveness of the water with 
which this film was formed falls down again by its excess of weight, 
continually growing in circumference, because the amount of the air 
which at first was in the whole of the aforesaid spherical body is after- 
wards reduced by half, and this is of itself capable of containing all 
this air, so that this spherical body goes on descending so far towards 
the surface of the water that it unites with it, finding there as I have 
said before greater width than in its own diametral line. 

Nor has the air clothed with a thin film of water perfect sphericity 
in the aforesaid instance, because the part of the water with which 
this air is clothed, is heavier where it is more perpendicular to the 
centre of the circle, which makes itself the base of this half-sphere, 
and therefore in this position it lowers itself more; because that part of 
a thing supported in its extremities is so much weaker as it is more 
distant from its foundation, and that thing descends more rapidly 
which has the weaker support. That part of the air clothed by a film 
of water will be of most perfect sphericity which is least in size; this 
is proved by the reason stated above, because these bodies are clothed 
with films of equal thickness: for if the air that escaped from the sur- 
face of the water was small in amount it raised up a small quantity of 
this film, and clothed itself in it; and since its lesser a altitude is nearer 
its foundation than was that of a greater, it maintains itself more than 
this greater. The air which is subdued by the weight of the film of 
water which clothes it penetrates in minute particles through this film, 
and these, for the reason stated, cannot be separated from their state 
of connection or adhesion to it, and therefore through the weight it 
has thus acquired it descends from the sides of this body, and remains 

1 MS. has maggiore. 


joined to the base of the middle sphere of air from whence it 

It breaks the middle sphere of the air clothed by the water in the 
third part of its curve; this is proved with the arches of walls, and 
therefore I will not treat of it in these notes, but I will place it in the 
book where it is necessary. 

That part of the water is higher which is more remote from the 
centre of the sphere of fire and of the air and of the water, but not of 
the earth, because this has not a mathematical spherical shape; and 
for this reason the centre of its gravity is not concentric with the centre 
of the spheres of the other three elements. 

The water of itself does not move unless it descends : therefore, when 
it is in its sphere it does not have one part of itself lower than an- 
other, and therefore of itself it will not move unless it is moved by 
others: and the two aforesaid proofs are sufficient to prove that water 
is spherical and of itself without movement; and as a consequence all 
the waters that move of themselves are lower at one extremity than at 
the other, that is in their surface; so finding the descent it runs there 
because there is no support for it there. 

How the air can never of itself remain beneath the water but always 
wishes to be above in its contact: in proof of this let it be supposed that 
there are three elements and that the earth is nothing and that one 
allows a quantity of water to fall through the air; this cannot stay 
above the air, because the weaker liquid body cannot support the 
heavier, and consequently the air since it is a body thinner than the 
water and therefore is not able to support it will give it place; and this 
it will continue to do until the water has reached its lowest depth, that 
is assuming that it has not become evaporated or changed into air 
through its long friction with the air; but let us suppose that so much 
turns that a part arrives there: I say that after consuming its impetus 
between the reflex and falling movements which it would make 
around its centre it would come to a stop at this centre under all the 
sphere of air equally, because the centre of the elements is the lowest 
part that can be found in them, since the lowest is that part which is 
farthest removed from the greatest height of its whole. This is the 

Water attracts other water to itself when it touches it: this is proved 


from the bubble formed by a reed with water and soap, because the 
hole, through which the air enters there into the body and enlarges it, 
immediately closes when the bubble is separated from the reed, run- 
ning one of the sides of its lip against its opposite side, and joins itself 
with it and makes it firm. 

Also a small drop enters into the body of the other water. If you 
should grant me by the proof of these bubbles of water that water has 
tenacity though it be small and thin, you grant me that that which 
makes the part will make its whole. 

The bubble formed within the air by a reed, through which it is 
blown, does not fall in spherical shape, when it becomes detached be- 
cause its excess of water runs below and makes it heavier there than 
elsewhere, and consequendy the movement there is hurried, and 
breaks it above at a third. Leic. 25 r. 

Every current has three central lines, which are situated in the 
middle of its greatest power: of these one is at the contact made by the 
water with the bed that receives it; the second is at the middle of its 
depth and width; the third is formed on the surface; but that of the 
middle is the principal one for it guides the whole course and divides 
all the reflex movements and turns them to their appointed directions. 
The higher central line of the current of the water is the upper line of 
the falling movement, and the lower of the reflex whirling movement, 
that is that which turns itself over and falls down upon the falling 
movement upon which it takes its leap; but let us leave the revolutions 
of the waters and their changes from below upwards as far as con- 
cerns these definitions, and speak only of the water remaining on the 
surface, that is as far as concerns its central lines. The central line of 
the surface of the current is always in the most prominent part of the 
water which surrounds the object struck by it; and the central line is 
only that which after striking upon a smooth-faced object falls back 
upon itself. The central line of the bottom of the current after striking 
upon the smooth object, is turned over towards the centre of the earth, 
and rambles about so much in scraping the bed that it makes a hollow 
large enough to contain its revolutions; and all the other lateral lines 
slope to the bed and hollow it. [To consider] whether the wave of 
the water causes the formation of the wave of sand above its bed or 


whether the wave of the bed is the cause of the wave on the surface of 
the water. [To consider the] difference between the waves, from 
knowing their depth: which may always be discovered between the 
falling and the reflex movement of the waters. [To consider] how 
the least depth within the banks of any expanse of water will be 
found at the end of its reflex movement. How also the least depths of 
rivers will be found at the sides of the currents where they unite with 
other currents. [To consider] how in between two currents there are 
always shallows. The highest part of the surface of the water that 
strikes the object will strike it in its centre if it be of smooth front 
or pointed with sides of equal slant and length. But unless the angle is 
in the middle of the front of the object the highest elevation of the 
wave that strikes it will no longer be in the centre of this front but 
opposite to the aforesaid angle. The water of the surface that is moved 
in tiny ripples by the wind, always moves so much more swiftly than 
the wave of the water, in proportion as the wave is swifter than the 
natural movement of the water, and as the natural movement of the 
water is swifter than the wave of the sand, and as the wave of the 
sand is swifter than the wave of the earth that forms the river bank. 
But I ought first to say that the movement of the free air is so much 
swifter than the movement of the air that strikes the water, because 
that part of the wind that strikes the water is checked by the resistance 
of the surface of the water. All the waves of the sand which travel 
with the water are as much slower than the waves of the sand that 
travel with the wind as the movement of the water is slower than the 
movement of the wind. Leic. 25 v. 

In these eight sheets there are seven hundred and thirty conclusions 
as to water. 

When the wave has been driven on to the shore by the force of the 
wind it forms a mound by putting its upper part at the bottom, and 
turns back on this until it reaches the spot where it is beaten back anew 
by the succeeding wave which comes below it and turns it over on its 
back, and so overthrows the mound and beats it back again on the 
shore mentioned before; and so continues time after time; turning 
now to the shore with its upper movement and now with its lower 
fleeing away from it. 


How it is not possible to describe the process o the movement of 
water unless one first defines what gravity is and how it is created or 

As the wave after striking on the sea shore turns back along the 
bed of the sea behind its mound, it encounters the following wave 
which comes from the high sea, and breaks itself upon it and divides 
itself; part leaping towards the sky and then falling down and turn- 
ing back, part towards the bed of the sea; and this continues towards 
the sea, carrying with it the lower part of the water that struck upon 
it. Were it not for it doing thus the seaweed and the wrack of the 
tempests would not be able to be carried from one shore and deposited 
upon another. If the water of the sea turns towards the sea above its 
bed after the percussion made upon its shore, how can it carry with 
it the shells, molluscs, 'buovoli', snails and other similar things pro- 
duced in the bed of the sea, and throw them upon this shore? This 
movement of the aforesaid things towards the shore commences when 
the percussion of the falling wave divides the reflex wave into the 
aforesaid two parts, for the things raised from the bottom often leap 
up in the wave that returns to the shore, and being solid bodies are 
driven towards the mound, which then draws them back with it 
towards the sea; and so continues in succession until the storm begins 
to abate, and stage by stage it leaves them where the greater wave 
reaches, that is that as the succeeding wave does not return to the 
same mark where it had deposited the booty that it carried, this booty 
remains where it has been left by the wave; and this process continues 
as the waves grow less. There remain the things cast up by the sea 
within the space that lies between the first mound of the wave upon 
the shore and the mound made by the wave that comes from the deep 
sea. If the whole sea rests and supports itself upon its bed the part of 
the sea rests upon the part of the bed: and as water possesses gravity 
when out of its element it ought to weigh down and press upon the 
things that rest on its bed. But we see the contrary, for there the sea- 
weed and grass that grows in these depths are not bent or crushed 
upon the bottom but cleave it directly as though they were growing 
within the air. 

So we arrive at the conclusion that all the elements, though they are 
without weight in their own sphere, possess weight away from their 


sphere, that is away towards the sky, but not away towards the centre 
of the earth; because if it proceeds away towards this centre it finds 
an element heavier than itself, with its thinnest and lightest part touch- 
ing an element lighter than itself, and the heavier part of the element 
is so placed as to be near the element that is heavier than itself. 

How water when transformed becomes changed into wind which is 
so much drier as the process of transformation is more complete. 

How wind is generated by the coagulation of the water within the 
air, for the air hastens to where there is a lack of it, and so it flees from 
where it is in excess. How the air has a greater volume where there is 
more wind, because the air there is thicker. 

How the winds are strongest in the moist seasons, and more so in 
the rains than in clear weather. How great winds proceed from the 
mountains that are covered with snow; and to this the sailors bear wit- 
ness for they experience it every day. And this is brought about 
through the fact of the snow becoming dissolved in the air, and being 
dissolved in very fine particles; hence philosophers say that there are 
dry land vapours; as to which I have nothing to say. 

How the wind, proceeding from the cloud, is not exhaled in a circle 
through every line away from the cloud, because it acquires more 
weight than the air through which it passes, and so of necessity is bent 
to the ground as are all the things that are heavier than the air, and it 
rambles through it, driven by that which follows, which is created 
behind it, or by the impetus it has acquired from its past movement. 

Leic. 26 v. 

That water may have tenacity and cohesion together is quite clearly 
shown in small quantities of water, where the drop, in the process of 
separating itself from the rest, before it falls becomes as elongated as 
possible, until the weight of the drop renders the tenacity by which 
it is suspended so thin that this tenacity, overcome by the excessive 
weight, suddenly yields and breaks and becomes separated from the 
aforesaid drop, and returns upwards contrary to the natural course of 
its gravity, nor does it move from there any more until it is again 
driven down by the weight which has been reformed. From this prop- 
osition two conclusions follow, of which the first is that the drop has 
cohesion and nerve-structure in common with the water with which 


it is joined; secondly that the water drawn by force breaks its co- 
hesion, and the part that extends to the break is drawn up by the 
remainder in the same manner as is the iron by the magnet. The same 
is seen with water passing through a filter, for the greater weight of 
the water that is outside the vessel draws back the lesser weight of the 
water which this filter holds back curved within the vessel. 

One may offer a proof of the tenacity of water and set it out in 
proportion, thus: if a drop of water of two grains is supported by 
water of the volume of half a drop by how much will a pound be sup- 
ported? And in this way we shall arrive near the truth. The sand 
weighs more than the water; and if there be left within the air in 
continuous line a quantity of sand and a quantity of water, separated 
from the sand but of the same weight as the sand, without doubt the 
movement of the sand will be slower than that of the water; and this 
comes about because the lower part of the water draws down the 
water that is joined to it above, and consequently it makes itself all 
one body and weighs all together upon the air, which opens below to 
give it place. This does not happen however with the sand, for in itself 
it is all separated and loose, and the whole of the amount falls with 
the same speed that one of its grains would, as they are all equal. So 
that we may conclude that the continuous descent of the water as it 
falls through the air proceeds with the speed that its weight requires, 
because it is a united and continuous quantity; and the sand of the 
same weight which descends from the same position of the water only 
proceeds with as much speed as is required by the weight of one of 
its medium-sized grains, for those that are larger descend more swiftly 
than those of medium size, and the less descend more slowly. 

For if water has in itself adhesiveness and a tendency to unite, the 
water that is poured from a siphon, being surrounded by air, does not 
draw itself after that of the siphon; and experience shows us that un- 
less the outlet of the water of the siphon is lower than its entrance into 
the pipe, the water that continues below its outlet from the pipe will 
never draw itself after that of the vessel. If in the descent of the water 
within the air the water above, which drives it downwards, does not 
descend there with the same speed or a greater, that below will divide 
itself from that above, if it is swifter. 

How the water that descends through the air breaks because the 


air through which it passes divides it. How the water which is di- 
vided as it descends continuously through the air has a medium of 
spray, which extends from one divided part to the other, and binds 
them up together. How all the volume of the water which descends 
through the air in continuous quantities, is constrained to descend 
with equal movement, because where it made itself swifter it would 
separate itself from the part that was slower, and where it made itself 
slower it would be doubled and multiplied by the part that was 
swifter. How as great a weight of water is displaced as the weight of 
the thing that is supported by this water. How in the same slant, the 
water will make itself so much slower in its movement as it is lower 
upon its bed. How water made to gyrate in swift movement in a 
vessel by the hands of him who is whirling it round becomes extremely 
concave at the centre. 

Of the great difference there is when water is whirled in a vessel, 
according to whether the hand is held near to the centre of this vessel 
or near the larger circle of the surface of the water. How the hand 
drawn frequently across the vessel up and down produces strange 
movements and surfaces of different heights. What water does when 
made to gyrate in an oval vessel. What water does when made to gyrate 
in a vessel with corners. What water does in a vessel that is struck 
from below. What water does in a vessel that is struck at the side. 
What water does in a vessel when the spot is struck on which it is 

Of the music of water falling into its vessel. Leic. 27 r. 

How nothing evaporates except by means of moisture, which after 
having been evaporated preserves in itself the nature of the body in 
which it was infused. How the rumbling produced by the earthquake 
in the body of the earth proceeds from the destruction of places, torn 
open by force by the winds which continually strike upon the beds of 
their great caverns or lakes, covered and shut in within the earth. 

But the tempest of the sea, snatched from its shores and borne far 
over the sea will be turned back, and especially if there is great depth 
there; and this happens because during a storm the wave of the sea 
does not penetrate to its great depths; and if it should chance to reach 
there it changes its movement. The water of the sea during a storm 


makes a great movement on its bed in a different direction from that 
of its surface. 

The dams of rivers if not of too great width may be made in this 
manner: a stake such as pile-drivers use should be fixed every three 
braccia, as big as possible and the bigger the better; and their tops 
should be of uniform height. On these a log of the shape of a beam 
should be fastened very firmly; next long trunks with all their 
branches should be taken and laid upon the aforesaid beam, and they 
should be fastened to it by using one of the branches as a hook; and 
this process should be repeated as often as possible, placing the branches 
towards the coming of the water; and they should then be loaded with 
shingle and stones; and after the first flood it is left grounded. But 
remember to fix the branches so that they are raised up and make 
them fall with the others. And if the river should be narrow you set 
the beam across from one bank to the other and fix it well; and set 
the aforesaid branches to lean upon it fastened with their natural hooks. 
The beam here is only for the purpose of holding the heads of the logs 
so that they do not drop down; and the branches which stand against 
the course of the river laden with stones, are not allowed to push this 
beam or bend its direction because it is held by their natural hooks, 
and their buried branches do not allow them to move or to tear away 
the said hooks. 

How the diverting of rivers ought to be carried on when the water 
has completely lost die fury of its current, that is when it shows itself 
tired. How with a small dam a river may be diverted by aiding and 
increasing the line where it shows that it wishes to turn of itself. 

How a river may be diverted by a few stones if one understands the 
line of its current; and this movement may be made in the aforesaid 
line of the water. How the dams of the river should never be formed 
by placing stakes in deep places but in the more shallow places. How 
the dams of the rivers when formed of masonry ought to be con- 
structed in the deepest parts of the rivers, so that they may be less in 
the power of the water which undermines them. How the dams of the 
rivers ought to be made in the fields away from the rivers and then 
the said river be directed against them. How the bridges ought also 
to be made in the fields in that part where it is afterwards intended 
to direct the river. Leic. 27 v. 


The ramifications o the springs of water are all joined together in 
this earth, as are those of the blood in other animals; and they are in 
continual revolution, and thus vivified they are perpetually wear- 
ing away the places in which they move, both those within the earth 
and those on the surface of it; and the rivers universally pour out 
much more water now than formerly: for which reason the surface of 
the sea is somewhat lowered towards the centre of the world as it has 
had to fill up the vacuum caused by this increase in these springs; of 
which I shall speak presently. The heat of the fire generated within 
the body of the earth warms the waters which are pent up within it 
in the great caverns and other hollow places; and this heat causes 
these waters to boil and pass into vapour and raise themselves up to 
the roofs of the said caverns, and penetrate through the crevices in the 
mountains up to their greatest height, where coming upon the cold it 
is suddenly changed into water, as one sees happen in a retort, and 
goes falling down again and forming the beginnings of rivers which 
are afterwards seen descending from them. But when the great frosts 
drive back the heat towards the centre of the world, this heat becomes 
more powerful and causes a greater vaporisation of the aforesaid water; 
and this vapour heating the caverns round which it moves in circles 
cannot form itself into water as it usually does : as is seen in the mak- 
ing of aqua vitae, for unless the vapour of the wine passed through 
fresh water it would not change into aqua vitae, but would go back 
and become at last so much condensed as to break down every obstacle. 
We may say the same of water heated in the bowels of the earth, 
which not finding in its passage places of such freshness as harmonises 
with it, does not form itself into water as formerly, but condenses 
and hardens like fire multiplied and condensed within a mortar, 
which becomes harder and more powerful than the substance that con- 
tains it, and so unless it be suddenly dissolved in smoke it instantly 
hurls itself forward, breaking and destroying whatever opposes its 
growth. It is the same with the aforesaid steam from the water, for it 
bursts forth within the bowels of the earth in divers places; ranging 
about and roaring with great tumult until it reaches the surface; and 
with a mighty earthquake makes whole regions tremble, and often 
makes mountains fall in ruin, and lays waste cities and lands in divers 
parts, and with a mighty hurricane bursts its way forth through the 


cracks in the earth which it has made; and so by thus escaping it con- 
sumes its own might. The wind is formed by the water in the air 
through the processes of the dissolving and the formation of clouds; 
that is that when the cloud is dissolved it becomes changed into air 
and increases in its bulk fitfully and irregularly, since the process of 
its dissolution does not work uniformly; because the cloud is in itself 
of varying thinness and density, consequently the part that is thinnest 
is dissolved most rapidly, and the thick part oilers most resistance to 
this process: this therefore is the cause why the movement of this 
wind does not proceed uniformly. 

And when the cloud is created it also generates wind, since every 
movement is created from excess or scarcity; therefore in the creation 
of the cloud it attracts to itself the surrounding air, and so becomes 
condensed, because the damp air was drawn from the warm into the 
cold region which lies above the clouds; consequently as it has to make 
water from air which was at first swollen by it, it is necessary for a 
great quantity of air to rush together in order to create the cloud; 
and since it cannot make a vacuum, the air rushes in to fill up with 
itself the space that has been left by the [former] air, which was first 
condensed and then transformed into a dense cloud. In this circum- 
stance the wind rushes through the air, and does not touch the earth, 
except on the summits of the high mountains; it cannot draw the air 
from the earth, because there would then be a vacuum between the 
earth and the cloud; and it draws but little air through the traverse 
and draws it more abundantly through every line. I have already had 
an opportunity of observing this process; and on one occasion above 
Milan, over in the direction of Lake Maggiore, I saw a cloud shaped 
like a huge mountain, made up of banks of fire, because the rays of 
the sun which was then setting red on the horizon had dyed it with 
their colour. 

This great cloud drew to itself all the little clouds which were round 
about it. And the great cloud remained stationary, and it retained the 
light of the sun on its apex for an hour and a half after sunset, so 
enormous was its size. And about two hours after night had fallen 
there arose a stupendous storm of wind. 

And this, as it became closed up, caused the air which was pent up 
within it, being compressed by the condensation of the cloud, to burst 


through and escape by the weakest part, rushing through the air with 
incessant tumult, acting in the same way as a sponge when squeezed 
by the hand underneath the water, for the water with which it is 
soaked escapes between the fingers of the hand that squeezes it, and 
rushes swiftly through the other water. So it is with the cloud, driven 
back and compressed by the cold that clothes it round, driving away 
the air with its own impetus, and striking it through the other air, 
until the heat that is mingled with the moisture of the cloud that has 
drawn it to so great a height flies back towards the centre of the cloud, 
escaping the cold which is its contrary, and having approached towards 
the centre becomes powerful, and consequently takes fire and makes 
a sudden emission of damp steam, which surrounds it and creates a 
furious wind that moves with the fire thrown out by the increasing 
pressure of the steam; and thus fire is expelled from the cloud as is 
the flame from the mortar, by the wind increasing behind it; and so 
this flame compressed by the cloud issues forth, and spreads through 
the air, with the more radiance in proportion as the fire of which it 
is formed is more concentrated and of greater heat: and this is the 
thunderbolt which afterwards ruins and smashes in pieces whatever 
opposes its destined course. 

I have already seen fire created under the water with the movement 
of a wheel which whirled its arms; and it will do the same at any 
depth however great. 

If the river be turned at the upheaval of the earthquake, it will no 
longer run forwards but will return into the body of the earth, as does 
the river Euphrates; and let this serve for any of those at Bologna 
who lament over their rivers. Leic. 28 r. 

That water will rise higher with its wave than the common surface 
of the water of the lake, when it is nearer the spot at which it falls 
into the lake. When the waters from different parts meet together in 
a hole that is in the bed of the river this water will be bored through 
as far as the entrance of the hole, and the cavity so made will be filled 
with air as far as the bed of the water. 

The revolving movement cannot be continued strictly below the 
water unless this revolving mass of water has air in the middle of it. 
That water will form a sudden hollow in its bank of earth which 


strikes within equal angles at any object that projects from this bank. 
The rain that parts from the cloud does not all fall on the earth: this 
is due to its friction with the air that it penetrates, because in the 
course of this friction it becomes consumed either altogether or in great 
part and pours itself into the above-mentioned air; and often one sees 
the clouds descend towards the earth and immediately become cut 
short in the manner of a horse's tail and remain invisible; and they 
are changed into wind. Leic. 28 v. 

Where the straight course of the water is impeded, there sudden 
depth will be produced. This occurs because when the course of the 
water is impeded it is making percussion against an obstacle that im- 
pedes it, and because no movable thing can immediately end and 
consume its impetus, but it must be retained by the body which it pene- 
trates; and also it does not end in this immediately after the percus- 
sion, seeing that every percussion is made upon the surfaces of the 
bodies which are struck; therefore, the penetration of movable things 
within their objects is a consequence born after their percussion, in 
which the impetus of the movement is consumed. 

The penetration of the movable things within their objects will be 
of as much less length than their reflex movement made in the same 
space of the falling movement, as the thing penetrated is thicker than 
the medium, where this reflex movement is made. Now the water 
when its straight movement is impeded strikes the object that impedes 
it, and immediately, not being able to penetrate it, is reflected at almost 
equal angles; after which percussion it divides and escapes by different 
lines from the spot where it struck; of these that which raises itself 
in the air acquires weight, and falls back and penetrates the other 
water as a heavy thing; after which it strikes and consumes the bed 
of the river; but in the process of penetration it is struck by the water 
which flows beneath its surface, and from stage to stage is driven back 
in threefold movement towards the place where it first struck. 

There are three positions of the movement that the water makes on 
being reflected from its percussion within the water penetrated by it: 
the first movement is towards the bed of the water; the second is to- 
wards the place where the water is moving; the third is whirling 
movement after the manner of a screw, boring continually the bank 


and the bed on which it rubs, and always gathering fresh force from 
the water that follows in succession, thrown back from the bank, 
which descends upon it from the air, and resubmerges it anew with 
itself at the bottom. 

Here then is a percussion, and the movable thing after having struck 
the object remains in the position where it was when it made the per- 
cussion; and the object struck follows the same line and extent of the 
course of which the striker was deprived. This happens because in this 
instance the weights are equal in size, weight and substance, and to the 
weight of the movable thing has been joined the power of the impetus 
of which the object was deprived, and it only rested with its natural 
weight; this is so, because no impetus is consumed immediately, and 
because the body that strikes is accustomed to make the reflex move- 
ment when it finds an object that offers resistance; but here reflex 
movement is not produced, because the object immediately flies away, 
bearing with it the power and impetus of its striker; and because 
always the movable thing, which does not attach itself to its object, is 
accustomed to finish the remainder of its destined movement in the 
reflex movement, which starts immediately it has finished its percus- 
sion. Here they do not become fixed, because they are of spherical 
body and of equal substance. It does not advance farther because it has 
exhausted its impetus in its percussion, and has given it to the object 
struck; it does not spring back, for it has nothing to serve as a founda- 
tion for its spring, after the manner of a man who wishes to jump 
from a board which is placed on the pavement on top of several pieces 
of a beam which has been sawn up; for as he gathers impetus for the 
leap, this impetus communicates itself to and unites with the board 
which flies away as though upon wheels; and he who would fain leap 
deprived of the impetus of the leap, is left in the same position in 
which he was when he formed the intention of leaping; so that from 
this we may conclude that the impetus can be immediately separated 
from the body where it was created and pour itself into the object 
which it has struck. 

But if the body struck be lighter than its striker, the length of the 
movement destined for this striker will be as much shorter as the 
impetus which is divided from it, attaching itself to the body struck, is 
diminished. That is, if the body struck was a pound and the striker 


two pounds, I affirm that the percussion will take away half the im- 
petus and the movement of its striker, and the body struck having 
only half the power of impetus will take a medium course, but so 
much more than that made by the striker which follows it as it is 
lighter than it, and there is less resistance of air; excepting the power 
of the resistance of the air which is measured by drawing the same 
movable thing with double power; and if the movements are not of 
double length, that which is lacking has been taken away from them 
by the resistance of the air, which may be said to resist in the same 
proportion as the aforesaid movable thing is lacking in movement 
when driven by double the power there was at first. And if the object 
struck was much lighter than the striker, the air will offer much 
resistance to the movement of the body struck. And if the body struck 
is double the body that strikes it, its movement will be in the sub- 
duplicate ratio of the reflex movement of its striker. And if the bodies 
which strike are equal and similar and of equal movement and power, 
then their reflex movements will be equal in length and power. But if 
the movement of similar and equal bodies be unequal then their reflex 
movement will be unequal. Leic. 29 r. 



It often happens that when one wind meets another at an obtuse 
angle, these same winds circle round together and twine themselves 
together into the shape of a huge column, and becoming thus con- 
densed the air acquires weight. I once saw such a hollow column 
assume the shape of a man above the sand of the sea shore, where 
these winds were ranging round together and digging stones of a con- 
siderable size from this hollow, and carrying sand and seaweed through 
the air for the space of a mile and dropping them in the water, whirl- 
ing them round and transforming them to a dense column which 
formed dark thick clouds at its upper extremity; and beyond the sum- 
mits of the mountains these clouds were scattered and followed the 
direct course of the wind when it was no longer impeded by th^ 


[Of the movement of water] 

That thing is lower which is nearer to the centre of the earth; there- 
fore that will be higher which is more remote from this centre. 

Every quantity of water will move towards its lower extremity; and 
where these extremities are of equal height, this water will not in itself 
have any movement. 

Here it is proved by these two propositions that the waters of the 
seas which are contingent will never of themselves have movement; 
and how of necessity they are of spherical surface. 

Therefore water that moves of itself has one of its extremities lower 
than the others; and that which does not move is of the same height 
in its extremities. 

A corollary follows which says that water does not move of itself 
unless it descends. I^ic. 30 v. 

The variety of the positions and rates of speed of the waters within 
their rivers is caused by the variety of the slant of their bed. The 
variety of the slant of the beds of rivers is caused by the variety of the 
swiftness of the current of the waters. 

Water of itself does not move unless the slant of the bed draws it to 
itself: what therefore was the cause of this slant of the bed different 
from its first general slant? For I allow myself to understand that the 
movements more or less of the waters in the rivers were caused only 
by the greater and less slants of the beds, as I have set forth above. 

And if the first bed of the river was formed with uniform width, 
slant and straightness, what was the cause of the varying of such con- 
ditions as regards the bed? For it is here shown that the water which 
moves above them must of necessity be of uniform current. The mat- 
ter which makes the water of the rivers turbid is that which after 
being carried some distance settles upon their beds, and raises them, 
and changes the slant of the bed; and in this way it causes the varia- 
tion in the courses of the waters. And from this we conclude that the 
water is the cause of the variation of its bed, and that the bed then of 
necessity changes the courses of the waters in greater or less speed; 
which variety of courses is then the most powerful cause of varying 
all the bed of its river; and so it is concluded: The bed of the rivers 
is varied by the matter that the course of the water deposits there; 


and the variety in the course of the waters is further varied by the 
irregularity in the bed of the river. 

A drop of water that falls in a place of uniform density and smooth- 
ness will splash in such a way that the edges of its mark will be at an 
equal distance from its circumference; and so conversely if it should 
not fall in a level place. Leic. 33 r. 

The centres of the sphericity of water are two: the one is of the 
universal watery sphere, the other of the particular. 

That of the universal is that which serves for all the waters that are 
without movement, which are in themselves in great quantity such as 
canals, ditches, ponds, fountains, wells, stagnant rivers, lakes, marshes, 
swamps and seas; for these although of different depth in themselves 
have the boundaries of their surfaces equidistant from the centre ot 
the world, as are the lakes situated at the tops of high mountains, as 
above Pietra Pana and the lake of the Sybil at Norcia, and all the 
lakes which form the sources of great rivers, as the Ticino from Lake 
Maggiore; the Adda from Lake Como; the Mincio from Lake Garda; 
and the Rhine from Lake Constance and Coire, and from the lake 
of Lucerne; and as Trigon which passes through Africa Minor, which 
carries with it the water of three swamps at different altitudes one after 
another: of which the highest is Munace, the middle one is Pallas and 
the lowest is Triton. Again, the Nile has its source in three very high 
lakes in Ethiopia: it runs to the north and discharges itself into the 
Egyptian sea with a course of four thousand miles, and its shortest 
and most direct line which is known measures three thousand miles; 
it issues forth from the Mountains of the Moon from divers and 
unknown beginnings; and comes upon the said lakes high above the 
watery sphere at an altitude of about four thousand braccia, that is 
a mile and a third, in order to allow for the Nile falling a braccio in 
every mile. And the Rhone issues from the lake of Geneva and flows 
first west then south with a course of four hundred miles, and empties 
its waters in the Mediterranean sea. 

The centre of a particular sphere of water is that which occurs in the 
tiniest particles of dew, which are seen in perfect roundness clustering 
upon the leaves of the plants on which it falls; it is of such lightness 
that it does not flatten itself upon the spot on which it rests, and it 


is almost supported by the atmosphere that surrounds it, so that it does 
not itself exert any pressure or form any foundation; and for this 
reason its surface is drawn to itself equally from every side with equal 
force; and so each part runs to meet another with equal force, and they 
become magnets one of another, with the result that of necessity each 
becomes of perfect roundness, forming its centre therefore in the 
middle at an equal distance from each point of its surface, and being 
pulled asunder equally by each part of its gravity, always placing itself 
in the middle between opposite parts of equal weight. But as the 
weight of this particle of water comes to be increased, the centre of 
the curved surface immediately emerges from this portion of water, 
and makes its way towards the centre of the common sphere of the 
water; and the more the weight of this drop increases the nearer the 
centre of the said curve approaches towards the centre of the earth. 

Leic. 34 v. 

I have seen in the case of two small canals each of a breadth of two 
braccia, which serve as a line of demarcation between the road and the 
estates, how their waters clashed together with unequal force, and then 
united, and bent at a right angle, and passed underneath a small bridge 
by this road and continued their course. But what I want to refer to in 
them is the fact that they formed there a flow and ebb, with a height of 
a quarter of a braccio, caused, now by one, now by the other canal, as 
will be stated. The first canal, being the more powerful, subdued the 
onrush of the water of the opposite canal, and by adding to it from the 
opposite direction caused it to swell up; and then the water coming 
above this from the swollen river, rose up in such a way as to acquire 
so much weight from the more sluggish water that it overcame the 
impetus and power of the water which at first was more powerful, and 
so drove it back with great fury; and consequently the victor, re- 
doubling the impetus of its movement, entered with an undulation 
extending over more than a hundred feet into the more powerful 
canal, which at that time retarded and held up such of its waters as 
were at the boundary of the conquering wave. And from this wave 
upwards the river massed together so much water that after the end 
of the aforesaid impetus of the wave, these waters gained the victory 
and drove back the first waters; and so they continued in succession, 


without ever retarding the movement of that third canal in which they 
were united under the aforesaid bridge. 

For this canal had four different movements, of which the first and 
second were with greater or less current, and the others according as it 
varied from the right to the left bank. The variation from the greater 
to the less current occurred when one of the streams of water made 
itself victor over the other, for as this other is turned back together 
with that which drives it an abundance of water is created under the 
bridge. The fall of the water under this bridge took place when the 
one stream of water which conquered the other had almost consumed 
its impetus and the opposing stream was left with its force already 
exhausted; the water under the bridge was then extremely low. The 
changing across of the current from the right to the left bank occurred 
when the water on the right or the left was victor, that is when the 
water on the right was victor the current struck against the left bank, 
and when the current in the canal on the left was victor it struck upon 
the right bank underneath the aforesaid bridge. 

And if this ebb and flow created within so small a quantity of water 
has a variation of a quarter of a braccio, what will it be in the great 
channels of the seas which are shut in between the islands and the 
mainland ? 

It will be so much the more in proportion as its waters are greater. 

Leic. 35 r. 


The wave of water created by the wind is slower than the wind that 
moves it, and swifter than the current of the water that produces the 
wind; of this there is an example in the waves of the meadows. 

The wave of the water created by the descent of the rivers is slower 
than the current of the water that produces it; and this happens because 
the wave in such rivers is formed from the bottom of this river, or 
from its sides, and it stands as firm as is the firmness of the object that 
produces it, while the water, which continually forms itself into a wave, 
is continually escaping from this wave. 

There are many occasions when the wave of the water and that of 
the wind have the same course; and many occasions when they are 
contrary, intersecting at right angles or often at acute angles. 


The movement of the falling wave penetrates into the movement o 
the wave recoiling. The wave of the water in a circular vessel runs 
from the edge to the centre and is then bent back from the centre 
to the edge and from the edge to the centre; and so it continues in 

The wave of a triangular vessel, or a vessel with sides, has not uni- 
formity of time, because its sides and angles are not equidistant from 
the centre of the vessel. 

The circle of the wave made by an object in running water will be 
oval in shape. Leic. 36 v. 


'To maJ(e water rise and remain upon the ascent! 

[With drawing of pump] 

For the bath of the duchess Isabella; a Spring. 

Made for the stove or bath of the duchess Isabella; a is in this posi- 
tion because the screw does not turn with its socket C.A. 104 r. b 

[With drawings} 

Water raised by the force of the wind. 

This syringe has to have two valves, one to the pipe which draws 
the water and the other to that which ejects it. 

Method of making water rise to a height. 

In this way one will make water rise through the whole house by 
means of conduit pipes. C,A. 386 r. b 


[With sketch] 

If you should wish to know what the fall of a river is in each mile 
without employing any other instrument for observing levels, you 
should follow this method: Be careful to choose a part of the river 
which has the most conformity with the general range of the course 
of which you wish to know the fall, and take in it a hundred braccia 
of bank of which the beginning and the end are marked by two rods, 
as is shown above in a b, and at the beginning a launch a bladder, 
oak-apple, or small piece of cork, and observe how many beats of 
time the aforesaid object travelling with the descending wave takes to 
arrive at the end of the journey of the hundred braccia, and then 
measure many other courses, some slower and some more rapid, and 
afterwards measure the fall of the hundred braccia with the instrument 



for observing levels. And by this process, having measured different 
reaches of the water, you will then know how to speak only for over 
a hundred paces of a bank; and by observing how many beats of time 
your oak-apple has taken to traverse this course you will be able to 
calculate the fall that it makes per mile. Tr. 56 a 

[With drawing of apparatus for raising water] 

If you wish to make water rise a mile and to cause it to rest upon a 
mountain do as is represented above. And if you wish the stream of 
water to be as big as your leg make the conduit as big as your thigh. 
And if it is to rise a mile make it also descend two miles, and then the 
violence of the water which is found between b and c will be so great 
that it will draw up the water which is found in d e and will turn the 
wheel of the water pump. And you must know that no air can enter 
into the water chamber by the water pump, seeing that every time that 
the screw of the water pump turns back, the valve which is at the 
bottom of the reservoir closes, and even if it were not so well stopped 
up it could not admit the air because it finds itself two braccia under 
water, and consequently could not admit air unless it first admit the 
two braccia of water. When you wish to fill the conduit you must first 
of all have a small lake filled with rains, and stop up with clay the 
pipes at the base of it, that is at c and e, and then let this lake discharge 
itself into the conduit. When the water has risen half a braccio up the 
wheel close the box tightly and then at the same time unstop the 
conduit at its base in c and make the wheel four braccia. B 26 r. 

[Drawing of machine] 
To raise water. B 54 r. 

[Hydraulic machine] 

If twelve ounces of water produce thirty thousand revolutions of a 
machine in an hour we believe that twenty-four ounces will produce 
sixty thousand revolutions per hour of the same machine if it has the 
same fall, and that the output will be double what it was at first. 

H 90 [42] v. 




Let a b be stagnant water, let a c be a screw which is turned by the 
distaff #, and the said screw carries the water into the chamber c /, and 
from the said chamber a siphon tube proceeds which carries the water 
to another chamber which is round the centre of the wheel of the first 
movement, and from there the eight spokes take the water, which after 
it has fulfilled its function falls back to the spot from whence it started. 

Forster i 41 r. 

a the instrument above: 

m keeps c unstopped as long as it falls, and when m departs c closes, 
and when m comes to the bottom s goes to the top and draws after it 
the water of the well, Forster i 41 v. 


The water after issuing from the pump runs by the line a c, and 
pauses at s, and there makes counterpoise and falls down together 
with the lever n m, and draws up fresh water, of which part goes in 
counterpoise and part remains up by the line b /. 

The water departs from the centre a and flows in , and from b as 
far as c it makes a level lever, and from c it rises by the wheel of the 
screw gently and returns to the centre c\ and make it with sixteen 

Let a b be the level of the earth, f is the lever of m, q is that of n, 
and thus first one then the other after the manner of bellows perform 
their function. 

This as far as relates to the cause of its movement has similarity with 
that above, and it varies only in that screw in the centre which con- 
ducts the water upwards. Forster i 42 r, 


Here the water having ascended by the screw will arrive by the 
pipe s at the point a, and from a b it will make equidistant lever, and 
from b n will return to the first screw, and will always repeat the same 
process, and above all it makes it wider at the end than at the be- 


The screw a gives the water to the screw , and the screw b gives 
movement with the same water to the screw a. Forster 1 42 v, 

[With drawings] 

The water that falls from the mouth g comes from the chamber / 
pressed by the lead d 9 and when the chamber / is empty the water will 
be raised into the chamber a by a valve which opens inwards. Conse- 
quently as the part below becomes lighter and the part above heavier 
it suddenly turns right over and the lead c presses the chamber a and 
so it is always in motion. Forster i 45 v. 

The left chamber sends its water from / in b and in this b there is a 
valve opening inwards, by means of which the chamber c b a comes to 
be filled, and the air escapes by a n\ but make the mouth a higher 
than the other part so that the water may not pour out. The chamber 
d will be full of air and the part e will be lead. When the chamber a 
b c shall be full it will turn right over and the lead will remain above 
and will press the water on the left, and by the time that the water 
has made its exit the lead will have gone below and the chamber will 
receive the water from the right through m s. Forster i 46 r. 

\With drawings] 
To make water rise and remain upon the ascent, Forster i 50 v. 

This water rises by way of a pump, and after issuing forth at the 
extremity of this pump it runs by the lever from c a and from / b, and 
having arrived at the extremity of the said lever the water that follows 
creates counterpoise. Forster i 51 r. 

The water rises by the screw a b and falls in the chamber c> and 
from there it is drawn off by the siphon b f and carried into the 
chamber p, and from there until counterpoise is made in s, and then 
it falls into the stagnant water below. 

This wheel with the lever a n will turn and draw the water with 
the circle. But see that when the buckets are ten you make twelve of 
the lever and one of the counterlever. Forster i 51 v. 


'Every large river may be led up the highest 
mountains on the principle of the siphon' 


[Plan on which are the words Florence, Prato, Pistoia, Serravalle, Lago, 

Lucca, Pisa] 

Let sluices be constructed in the Val di Chiana at Arezzo, so that in 
summer when there is a shortage o water in the Arno the canal will 
not become dried up, and let this canal be twenty braccia wide at the 
bottom and thirty at the surface and the general level two braccia or four, 
because two of these braccia serve the mills and the meadows. This will 
fertilise the country, and Prato, Pistoia and Pisa, together with Florence 
will have a yearly revenue of more than two hundred thousand ducats, 
and they will supply labour and money for this useful work, and the 
Lucchesi likewise. Since the Lago di Sesto will be navigable make it 
pass by way of Prato and Pistoia and cut through at Serravalle and go 
out into the lake, for then there will be no need of locks or supports, 
which are not permanent but require a constant supply of labour to 
work them and to maintain them. C.A. 46 r. b 

And know that this canal cannot be dug for less than four denari 
per braccio, paying each labourer at the rate of four soldi per day. And 
the time of construction of the canal should be between the middle of 
March and the middle of June, because the peasants are not then 
occupied with their ordinary work, and the days are long and the heat 
does not prove exhausting. C.A. 46 v. a 

[Plan of canal ascending hill by means of locJ(i[ 
[Below: 10 braccia deep and 8 wide\ 

Every large river may be led up the highest mountains on the prin- 
ciple of the siphon. 



If the river c d b sends out a branch at the point a and it falls back 
again at the point b y the line a b will have so much greater pressure 
than the line a c that it will be able to take away so much of it as will 
serve to lead ships up mountains. C.A. 108 v. a 

If a canal of water passes beneath another river with a bend like that 
of a knee, it exerts pressure in its desire to lift the cover of its conduit. 
Now I ask what weight is required to resist the weight of the water 
that wishes to proceed in its course. C.A. 199 v. b 


In order to enable each large river to maintain itself within its banks, 
it is necessary for an official to be appointed with authority to com- 
mand the people who live near to it, and so to effect repairs whenever 
it has burst its banks, 


The river which has the straightest course will best keep within its 
banks. C.A. 297 r. b 

A trabocco is four braccia, and a mile is three thousand of these 
braccia, and the braccio 1 is divided into twelve inches . . . and the water 
of the canals has a fall of two inches in every hundred trabocchi. 
Therefore fourteen inches of fall are necessary in two thousand eight 
hundred braccia of movement of the said canals. It follows that fifteen 
inches of fall give the necessary momentum to the current of the water 
of the said canals, that is one and a half braccio to the mile; and by this 
we may conclude that the water which is taken from the river of Ville- 
franche and is lent to the river of Romorantin would require . . . 

Where by reason of its lowness a river cannot enter into another it is 
necessary to raise it by a dam to such a height that it can descend into 
the one which was the higher at first. 

From Romorantin as far as the bridge at Saudre it is called the 
Saudre; and from that bridge as far as Tours it is called the Cher. 

1 Braccio nearly two English feet. 


[Map of rivers] Mon Ricardo. Romorantin. Tours. Amboise. Blois. 

You will make a test of the level of that canal which is to lead from 
the Loire to Romorantin by means of a channel one braccio wide and 
one braccio deep. 

[Map of rivers] Era (Loire), Scier (Cher). Villefranche. Bridge of 
Saudre. Saudre. Ship. 

On the Eve of Sant' Antonio I returned from Romorantin to 
Amboise, and the King [of France] 1 departed two days before from 
Romorantin. C.A. 336 v. b 

The canals of Milan have a fall of one braccio or thereabouts in every 
mile. And an inch a mile is found sufficient in respect to the surface 
movement of the water. 

Moreover reckoning a fall of a braccio in every mile, in a space of 
four hundred miles it would become necessary for the water to turn 
back, because the world . . . C.A. 352 v. a 

Let the Guild of the Wool Merchants construct the canal and take 
the receipts, making the canal pass by way of Prato, Pistoia, Serravalle 
and empty itself into the lake; and it will be without locks and more 
permanent and will produce more revenue from the places through 
which it passes. C.A. 398 r. a 

The roots of the willows do not suffer the banks of the canals to be 
destroyed; and the branches of the willows, nourished during their 
passage through the thickness of the bank and then cut low, thicken 
every year and make shoots continually, and so you have a bank that 
has life and is of one substance. Fir, 

When the pool that is [provided] for the month of June is empty, 
stop up the mouths and bend the river which has poured itself into it, 
and give it its outlet in the fall of the mill. f F 13 r. 

Make a lock to the narrow canal that comes from the sea, in order to 
be able to close it against storms and the tide and to open it at the ebb. 

F 16 r. 
X MS. di fran crossed out. 



Make this in the book of the aids, and in order to prove it cite the 
propositions that have been proved. And this is the true order, because 
if you wished to supply a help to each proposition it would still be 
necessary for you to make new instruments in order to prove this 
utility; and by so doing you would confuse the order of the forty books 
and so also the order of the figures; thus you would have to blend 
practice with theory, which would cause confusion and lack of con- 
tinuity. * 2 3 r - 

A great weight may be deposited upon a ship without the use of 
windlasses, levers, ropes, or any force: 

In order to deposit each very heavy weight that is all in one piece 
upon a floating barge, it is necessary to draw this weight to the shore of 
the sea, setting it lengthwise to the sea at the edge of the shore. Then a 
canal should be made to pass beneath this weight and to project as far 
beyond it as the half of the length of the barge which is to carry 
this weight; and in like manner the width of this canal should be 
regulated by the width of the barge, which should be filled with water 
and drawn beneath the weight* And then after the water has been 
baled out the ship will rise to such a height as to raise the said weight 
from the ground of itself. Thus laden you will then be able to draw it 
to the sea and lead it to the place that is prepared for it. F 49 v. 


By the making of the Martesana canal the amount of water in the 
Adda is lessened owing to it being distributed over many districts in 
order to supply the meadows. A remedy for this would be to make 
many small channels because the water which has been drunk up by 
the earth does no service to anyone, nor any injury because it has been 
taken from no one; and by the construction of such channels the water 
which before was lost returns again and is once more of service and 
use to mankind. And unless such channels have first been constructed 
it is not possible to make these runlets in the lower-lying country. We 
should say therefore that if such channels are made in the Martesana, 


the same water, drunk in by the soil of the meadows, will be sent back 
upon the other meadows by means of runlets, this being water which 
had previously disappeared; and if there were a scarcity of water at 
Ghiara d'Adda and in the Mucca and the inhabitants were able to 
make these channels it would be seen that the same water drunk in by 
the meadows serves several times for this purpose. F 76 v. 


It is possible that in a canal concave in its length the water flows 
with uniform depth. 

It is impossible for the water in a convex canal to flow with uniform 
volume although the canal is of uniform width. F 88 v. 


A fall of two inches every hundred trabocchi, and these hundred 
trabocchi are four hundred and fifty braccia. 

The greatest depth of the rivers will be beyond the current where the 
water is at rest. H 65 [17] r. 

The more the water falls, the more it leaps. 

On the second day of February, 1494, at the Sforzesca I have drawn 
twenty-five steps, each of two thirds of a braccio high and eight braccia 

The greatest depth of water will be between the percussion and the 
gurglings which result from it, H 65 [17] v. 

No sluice should be narrower than the general width of the canal, 
because the water in this event forms eddies and breaks the bank. 

H 76 [28] v. 
[Estimate for canal] 

The canal which is sixteen braccia in width at the bottom and twenty 
at the top may be said to average eighteen braccia over its whole width; 
and if it is four braccia in depth and costs four denari per square braccio 
it will cost per mile for excavation alone nine hundred ducats, the 
square braccio being calculated in ordinary braccia. 

But if the braccia are such as are used to measure land, of which 


every four are four and a half, and if the mile consists of three thousand 
ordinary braccia and these are converted into those used to measure 
land, then these three thousand braccia lose a quarter so that there 
remain two thousand two hundred and fifty braccia; and therefore at 
four denari the braccio the mile comes out at six hundred and seventy 
five ducats; at three denari per square braccio the mile works out at five 
hundred and six and a quarter ducats, and therefore the excavation of 
thirty miles of the canal will work out at fifteen thousand one hundred 
and eighty seven and a half ducats. H 91 [43] r. 

The water that falls over its embankments lays them bare and breaks 
them down on the opposite side. H 116 [27 v.] r. 


[With diagram] 

a b is the conduit of Blois, made in France by Fra Giocondo; b c is 
what is lacking in the height of this conduit; c d is the height of the 
garden of Blois; e f is the fall of the siphon b c e /; / g is where this 
siphon discharges into the river. 1 K 100 [20] r. 


[With drawing] 

To ensure that the mouths of the canals which hollow themselves out 
from the rivers do not become filled up with shingle, and also to 
prevent the shingle from remaining in the middle of the dam that has 
been constructed against it, it should be made with a transverse descent. 

K 101 [21] r. 
[Canal of the Ticino] 

The declivity of the canal with the small outlets at its bottom. 

All the water a b is that which enters into the canal having outlet 

1 This technical note as to the work of the Veronese architect Fra Giocondo in the 
garden of the chateau of Blois was most probably written by Leonardo while at Milan 
during the French occupation, the information having been supplied him by some mem- 
ber of the French court. 


through the openings placed at the bottom; and all the water a c is that 
which enters in the canal having the openings near the surface of the 
water. The water c b having no outlet does not move its mass, and not 
moving it does not enter into the other mass but [this other] will go 
into the Ticino. 

And in order thus to raise the openings make the course of the 
water more [less?] slanting, and make the course slower in conse- 
quence. Then this course in the same time draws a less quantity of 
water in the canal, and the mills receive less than at first although they 
receive the whole of it, and the outlets become full of impurities and 
choked up. 

However I shall maintain the water in the canal at a height of one 
braccio and a half as at first, and the outlets at the bottom as at first, 
and I shall let in the water by degrees. 

K 109 [29-30] r. and 108 [28] v. 

[Notes with drawing of section of Loire] 


The river is higher behind the bank b d than beyond this bank. 

Island where there is a part of Amboise. 

The river Loire which passes by Amboise passes by a b c d, and after 
passing the bridge c d e doubles back on its course by the canal d e b /, 
in contact with the embankment d b which comes between the two 
opposite movements of the above-mentioned river a b c d, d e b /. Then 
it turns back by the canal flghnm and reunites with the river from 
which it was formerly divided, which passes by ^ n and makes \mr t. 
But when the river is swollen it then runs all in one direction, passing 
the embankment b d. B.M. 269 r. 

[French canal project] 

The main channel of the river does not take the turbid water, but 
this water runs in ditches on the outside of the town with four mills at 
the entrance and four at the exit; and this will be constructed by 
damming the water above, at Romorantin. 

The water may be dammed up above the level of Romorantin at 
such a height that it works many mills in its descent. 


The river at Villefranche may be led to Romorantin, and this may 
be done by the people who live there, and the timbers which form their 
houses may be taken on boats to Romorantin, and the river may be 
damned up at such a height that the water can be led down to 
Romorantin by an easy gradient. 
[Sketch map of Loire with tributaries'] 

If the river m n, a tributary of the river Loire, were turned into the 
river of Romorantin with its turbid waters it would enrich the lands 
that it irrigated and make the country fertile, so that it would supply 
food for the inhabitants and it would also serve as a navigable canal for 
purposes of commerce, 


By the ninth of the third: that which is swifter consumes its own bed 
more, and conversely the water that is slower leaves more behind of 
that which causes it to be turbid. 

Therefore when the rivers are in spate you ought to open the flood- 
gates of the mills so that the whole course of the river may . . . there 
should be many floodgates for each mill so that . . . may open and 
give a greater impetus and thus the whole bed will be scoured. 

And let the sluice be made movable like the one that I devised in 
Friuli, where when the floodgate was open the water which issued forth 
from it hollowed out the bottom; and below the two sites of the mills 
there should be one of these floodgates, one with movable sluices being 
placed below each of the mills. B.M. 270 v. 

Here there are, my lord, many gentlemen who will undertake this 
expense between them, if so be that they are allowed to enjoy the use of 
the waters, the mills and the passage of ships; and when the price shall 
have been repaid them they will give back the canal of the Martesana. 

Forster in 15 r. 

That a river which has to be diverted from one place to another 
ought to be coaxed and not coerced with violence; and in order to do 
this it is necessary to build a sort of dam projecting into the river and 
then to throw another one below it projecting farther; and by proceed- 


ing in this way with a third, a fourth, and a fifth, the river will dis- 
charge itself in the channel allotted to it, or by this means it may be 
turned away from the place where it has caused damage, as happened 
in Flanders according to what I was told by Niccolo di Forzore. 
[With drawing] How one ought to repair by means of a screen a bank 
struck by the water, as below the island of Cocomeri. Leic. 13 r. 


No canal which issues forth from rivers will be permanent unless the 
water of the river from which it has its origin is entirely closed up, as is 
the case with the canal of Martesana and that which issues from the 

The canals ought always to be provided with sluices, so that excessive 
floods may not damage or destroy the bank and the water may always 
maintain itself in the same volume. Leic. 18 r. 

How in order to twist the line of the water one should make a twist 
in the line of the bank with a few stones: By the fourth of the second, 
where it was proved that the line of the water of the rivers was a con- 
course of the reflex movements of the water that has struck upon its 
banks, and has there multiplied and raised itself and hollowed out its 
bed beneath itself. And this is what would occur if anyone set out to 
twist the bank when the river a certain space above had shown that it 
wished to bend, and then had not continued this bending process, and 
you were to follow it up again gradually and minister to its first desire 
with an almost imperceptible curve; and thus you will proceed to make 
your attempt. But if you should try to bend the water in the direct line 
of its strength all your work will be in vain, because it will break every 
obstacle. And if with your lock you raise the level of the water so high 
that it swallows up so much in itself that the current loses its impetus 
in the expanse of water that has been formed, this can have a good 
result, and, by the fifth of the first, it will fill up all its bed with mud, 
But make it so that the water does not run along the bank. 

Leic. 27 v. 
[Of diverting a river and protecting a house] 

I have a house upon the bank of the river, and the water is carrying 
off the soil beneath it and is about to make it fall in ruin; consequently 


I wish to act in such a way that the river may fill me up again the 
cavity it has already made, and strengthen the said house for me. In a 
case such as this we are governed by the fourth of the second, which 
proves that *the impetus of every movabe thing pursues its course by 
the line along which it was created'; for which reason we shall make a 
barrier at the slant n m, but it would be better to take it higher up at 
o p, so that all the material from your side of the hump might be 
deposited in the hollow where your house is; and the material from the 
hump ^ would then do the same, so that it would serve the need in the 
same winter. But if the river were great and powerful the said barrier 
would have to be made in three or four attempts, the first of which, 
made in the direction that the water is approaching, ought to project 
beyond its bank a fourth part of the width of the river; then, below this, 
you should make another, distant as far as the summit of the leap that 
the water makes when it falls from the first barrier, for in this summit 
of its leap the water leaves the summit of the mound made by the 
shingle which was hollowed out by the first percussion, made by the 
water when it fell from the first barrier upon its bed. And this second 
dam extends halfway across the breadth of the river. The third should 
follow below this, starting from the same bank, and at the same fixed 
distance from the second as the second was from the first; and it follows 
its length as far as three-quarters of the width of the river. And so you 
will proceed with the fourth dam which will close the whole river 
across. And from these four dams or barriers there will result mucb 
greater power than if all this material had been formed into one barrier, 
which in uniform thickness would have closed the whole width of the 
stream. And this happens by the fifth of the second, where it is proved 
that the material of one single support, if it be quadrupled in length, 
will not support the fourth of that which it used formerly to support, 
but much less. 

I find that the water, that falls at the foot of the dams of rivers, 
places material towards the approach of the water, and carries away 
from the foot of the dam all the material on which it strikes as it falls. 
Now I could wish that it would place the material where it falls, and 
thereby bank up and fortify this dam: which thing might be done in 
this way Leic. 32 r. 


away that yellow surface which covers 
the orange and distil it in a retort until the 
extract is pronounced perfect! 


If you place your second finger under the tip of the third in such a 
way that the whole of the nail is visible on the far side, then anything 
that is touched by these two fingers will seem double, provided that 
the object touched is round. C.A. 204 v. a 

I take a vessel filled with wine and I draw off the half and fill it up 
again with water: in consequence the vessel will contain half wine 
and half water. 

Then I draw off half again and then fill up with water, wherefore 
there remains , . . 

Since every continuous quantity is divisible to infinity, if a quantity 
of wine be placed in a vessel through which water is continually passing 
it will never come about that the water which is in the vessel will be 
without wine. C.A. 218 r. b 


If you wish to find the part of the magnet that naturally turns to- 
wards the north get a large tub and fill it with water; and in this 
water place a wooden cup and set in it the magnet without any more 
water. It will remain floating in the manner of a boat, and by virtue 
of its power of attraction it will immediately move in the direction of 
the north star; and it will move towards this, first turning itself with 
the cup in such a way that it is turned towards this star, and will then 
move through the water and touch the edge of the tub with its north 
side, as before mentioned. E 2 r. 



[With drawing] 

This globe should be a half or a third of a braccio in diameter; and 
it should be of clear gkss and filled with clear water with a lamp in 
the middle, with the light in about the centre of the globe, and when 
suspended in the centre of a room it will give a great light. 

F 23 v. 
[Sphericity of water. Experiment] 

A drop of dew with its perfect round affords us an opportunity of 
considering some of the varied functions of the watery sphere; how it 
contains within itself the body of the earth without the destruction of 
the sphericity of its surface. For if first you take a cube of lead of the 
size of a grain of millet, and by means of a very fine thread attached 
to it you submerge it in this drop, you will perceive that the drop will 
not lose any of its first roundness, although it has been increased by an 
amount equal to the size of the cube which has been shut within it. 

F 62 v. 
\IJght and heat. Sun and mirrors] 

Whether the greater light with less heat causes concave mirrors to 
reflect rays of more powerful heat than a body of greater heat and less 

For such an experiment a lump of copper should be heated and 
placed so that it may be seen through a round hole, which in size and 
distance from the mirror is equal to the heated copper. 

You will thus have two bodies equal in distance but differing in 
heat and differing in radiance, and you will find that the greater heat 
will produce a reflection of greater heat in the mirror than the afore- 
said flame. 

We may say therefore that it is not the brightness of the sun which 
warms but its natural heat. 

It is proved that the sun in its nature is warm and not cold as has 
already been stated. 

The concave mirror although cold when it receives the rays of the 
fire reflects them hotter than the fire. 

A ball of glass when filled with cold water sends out from itself rays 
caught from the fire which are even hotter than the fire. 

From the two experiments referred to, it follows, as regards this 
warmth of the rays that issue from the mirror or from the ball of 


cold water, that they are warm of their own essence, and not because 
the mirror or ball are hot. And in this case the same thing happens 
when the sun has passed through the bodies which it warms by its 
own essence. And from this it has been concluded that the sun is not 
hot, whilst by the experiments referred to it has been proved that it 
is extremely hot, from the experiment which has been mentioned, of 
the mirror and of the ball which being cold and taking the rays of the 
heat of the fire convert them into warm rays because the primary cause 
is warm. And the same thing happens with the sun, which being itself 
warm, in passing through these cold mirrors reflects great heat. 

F 85 v. 


You will discover the various degrees of thinness of the waters by 
suspending at a uniform depth of the opposite ends a strip of old 
linen cloth, which should be dry, and which should penetrate on each 
side as far as the bottom of two vases filled with the two different 
kinds of water with which you wish to make your experiment. Then 
these waters will rise a certain distance on the cloth and will proceed 
gradually to evaporate, and as much as has been the evaporation of 
that which has risen up, so much will it rise again from the rest until 
the vase is dried up. And if you refill the vase the water will all rise 
in the piece of cloth with imperceptible slowness, and so as has been 
said it will gradually become dried up. And by this means the piece 
will remain full of the rest of the water which has evaporated, and 
in this way, by means of the weights that have been acquired, you 
will be able to tell which water holds more earth in solution than the 
other* G 37 v. 


Since the more the water in the vessel diminishes the more its sur- 
face is lowered, and the more the surface of the water is lowered the 
less swiftly the siphon flows, but if the siphon descends at the same 
time as the surface of the water that supports it, without doubt the 
movement of the water which pours through will always be equal in 
itself, therefore in order to make this equality let us make the vessel 


n in position above the bath of mercury m. This vessel n is a boat 
which supports the siphon which penetrates below from the air into 
the mercury. And this mercury proceeds to rise through the siphon 
n s t into the vessel /. And in proportion as the surface of this mer- 
cury descends so the boat which rests upon it descends at the same 
time as the siphon, which is formed of fine burnished copper and 
falls into a vessel, and this when it acquires the requisite weight falls 
and thereby creates fire by its impact. G 48 r. 

One may finds by experiment whether if untarnishable varnish be 
melted by the fire it moves from slanting positions if it is not of great 
thickness, this varnish after it has been liquefied should be smoothed 
constantly with a brush. G 73 v. 

[The flowing of liquids] 

If a cask is filled four braccia high with wine and throws the wine 
a distance of four braccia away, when the wine has become so lowered 
that it has dropped to a height of two braccia in the cask, will it also 
throw the wine through the same pipe a distance of two braccia, that 
is whether the fall, and the range that the pipe can throw, diminish 
in equal proportion or no. 

If from the cask when full two jugs are filled through the pipe in 
an hour, when the cask is half full it ought for this reason to fill only 
one jug in an hour, if pouring from the same pipe. 

This rule with all the other similar ones about waters which are 
poured through pipes ought to be put at the commencement of the 
instruments, in order to be able through various rules the better tc 
proceed to the proofs of these instruments, i 73 [25] r. 

[Good or poor* mathematician] 

In order to make trial of anyone and see whether he has a true 
judgment as to the nature of weights, ask him at what point one ought 
to cut one of the two equal arms of the balance so as to cause the part 
cut off, attached to the extremity of its remainder, to form with pre- 
cision a counterpoise to the opposite arm. The thing is never possible, 
and if he gives you the position it is clear that he is a poor 
mathematician. M 68 v. 

Cause an hour to be divided into three thousand parts, and this you 


will do by means of a clock by making the pendulum lighter or 
heavier, B.M. 191 r. 


If you wish to make a fire which shall set a large room in a blaze 
without doing any harm you will proceed thus: first perfume the air 
with dense smoke of incense or other strongly smelling thing, then 
blow or cause to boil and reduce to steam ten pounds of brandy. 

But see that the room is closed altogether, and throw powder of 
varnish among the fumes and this powder will be found floating upon 
the fumes; then seize a torch and enter suddenly into the room and 
instantly everything will become a sheet of flame. Forster i 43 r. 

Take away that yellow surface which covers the orange and distil 
it in a retort until the extract is pronounced perfect. 

Close up a room thoroughly and have a brazier of copper or iron 
with a fire in it, and sprinkle over it two pints of brandy a little at a 
time in such a way that it may be changed into smoke. Then get 
someone to come in with a light and you will see the room suddenly 
wrapped in flame as though it was a flash of lightning, and it will 
not do any harm to anyone. Forster i 44 v. 

[Experiment with waves of water and of air] [With figures] 

Place yourself in a boat and construct an enclosure n m o p and fix 
within it two pieces of board s r and t r, 1 and make a blow at a and 
see whether the broken wave passes with its suitable part as far as b c? 
And from the result of the experiment which you make with the 
wave cut ofif by the circular wave of the water, may be inferred what 
happens with that portion of the wave of air which passes through the 
airhole through which the human voice passes when confined in a box; 
as I heard at Campi from a man who had been shut up in a cask with 
the bunghole left open. Quaderni m 12 v. 

1 As figure shows, these two pieces o board are placed opposite to each other at 
right angles to the sides of the enclosure and are each about a third of its width. 

a The lines b a, c a form an acute angle with equal arms which pass through the 
ends of the two boards s r and / * and continue to the points b and c 9 which are near 
the sides of the enclosure. 


'Q speculators about perpetual motion, how many 
vain chimeras have you created in the li\e quest? 
Go and tal(e your place with the seekers after gold! 

[With drawing] 
Method of drying up the marsh at Piombino. C.A. 139 r. c 


Here there is need of a clock to show the hours, minutes and seconds 
(Tore punti e minuti). 

For measuring how great a distance one goes in an hour with the 
current of the wind. 

For learning the quality and density of the air and when it will rain. 

For reckoning the mileage of the sea. C.A. 249 v. a 

[With drawing] 

This is the way to dredge a harbour, and the plough m n will have 
in front of it spikes shaped like ploughshares and knives, and this 
plough will be used to load a large cart with mud. The cart will have 
its back perforated after the manner of a net in order that the water 
may not be shut within the box; and the said plough is to be moved 
along above the place where the mud is to be dug out, and along with 
it a barge; and when it has reached the bottom the windlass b will 
draw it underneath the windlass , and the windlass a will raise it up 
when it is full as far as its beam, in such a way that there will be room 
for the barge to go underneath it and take the mud from the plough; 
and so this plough will be able to dislodge the mud from the bottom 
and unload it upon the barge which is placed underneath it. 

C.A. 307 r. b 

Make to-morrow out of various shapes of cardboard figures descend- 



ing through the air, falling from our jetty; and then draw the figures 
and the movements made by the descent of each, in various parts of 
its descent. C.A. 375 r. c 

[With drawings] 

These scissors open and shut with a single movement of the hand. 

Scissors used by the bonnet-makers for cutting cloth. Rapid in the 
action of opening and shutting like the others. 

This [tool] has in itself so much more ease in its movement because 
the user does not have to adjust the spring or curve, as is the case with 
those scissors which are all in one piece. With these it is not necessary 
to wait in order to cut the threads of the cloth, or to bend by force the 
spring which is in the heel of the scissors. 

This closes at the same rate of speed as the rest; but opens much 
more rapidly. C.A. 397 v, a 

[Drawing of apparatus with ropes and pulleys] 

Method of raising and lowering the curtains of the treasures of sil- 
ver of the lord. Tr. 6 a 

[With drawing of tube descending from surface of water to cover 

mouth of man in diving dress] 

This instrument is employed in the Indian Ocean in pearl fishing; 
it is made of leather with numerous rings so that the sea may not 
close it up, And the companion stands above in the boat watching, 
and this [diver] fishes for pearls and corals, and he has goggles of 
frosted glass and a cuirass with spikes set in front of it. B 18 r. 


[With drawing] 

It is necessary to have a coat made of leather with a double hem 
over the breast of the width of a finger, and double also from the girdle 
to the knee, and let the leather of which it is made be quite air-tight. 
And when you are obliged to jump into the sea, blow out the lappets 
of the coat through the hems of the breast, and then jump into the sea. 

And let yourself be carried by the waves, if there is no shore near at 
hand and you do not know the sea. 


And always keep in your mouth the end of the tube through which 
the air passes into the garment; and if once or twice it should become 
necessary for you to take a breath when the foam prevents you, draw 
it through the mouth of the tube from the air within the coat. 

B 81 v. 

[Alarum-doc^] [With drawing] 

A clock to be used by those who grudge the wasting of time. 
And this is how it works: when as much water has been poured 
through the funnel into the receiver as there is in the opposite balance 
this balance rises and pours its water into the first receiver; and this 
being doubled in weight jerks violently upwards the feet of the sleeper, 
who is thus awakened and goes to his work. B 20 v. 

[Drilling machine] 

In order to drill through a beam it is necessary to hold it suspended 
and drill from below upwards so that the hole may empty of itself, and 
you should make this canopy so that the sawdust may not fall upon 
the head of him who turns the screw; and see that the turners rise at 
the same time as the said screw. And make the hole first with a fine 
auger and then with a larger one. B 47 v. 


A sledge for use in mud. And make the part that comes upon the 
ground united in order that it may not get stuck in the mud. 

B 49 v. 

A sledge for use in mountainous and rocky places. And do not make 
the part that touches the ground united, so that it may be less difficult 
to drag; for the less the weight touches the less difficult it is to move, 

B 50 r. 
[Timepiece. With drawing] 

Four springs for a timepiece, so that when one has finished its course 
the other commences, and as the first turns the second remains 
motionless. And the first is fixed above the second like a screw, and 
when it is fixed the second spring takes the same movement com- 
pletely and so do all. B 50 v. 

[With drawing] [Paddle-boat] 
Barge made of beams and covered over above. But make a large 


wheel of oars concealed within it, and make a furrow from one end of 
it to the other, as appears in a, where the wheel can touch the water. 

B 76 v. 
[To ma\e concrete} [With drawings] 

a is SL box which can open and empty itself, and in it you can make 
a concrete formed of fine pebbles and chalk. Let these blocks dry on 
the ground and then place them one upon another under the water, 
in order to form a dam against the rush of the water. 

Frames filled with gravel and twigs of birch, that is a layer of twigs 
[sketch] placed vertically in this direction and a layer of gravel, then a 
layer in this contrary direction [sketch] and then a layer of gravel, 
and thus you will construct it bit by bit. B 79 v. 


See if there are a number of small stones of different sizes whether 
the heaviest goes farthest when one throws it, then try alone with the 
same instrument and force, and see whether it travels a greater or less 
distance alone than when accompanied. And whether also if the stones 
are all of the same form and weight, like the balls of an air-gun, and 
are thrown by the same force in the same time they travel the same 


These bellows are like a sugar loaf and have a partition which 
divides them lengthwise in two parts. One that is the upper part is 
filled with water; that below is filled with air. The water falls down 
into the cubic space of the air through a small hole which is near the 
socket, and the increase of the water drives the air through the mouth 
of the bellows. Any scarcity of water in the upper part is filled by 
means of a valve which admits the air, and so also with the others; 
and this is the most serviceable type of bellows that can be used. 

B 81 r. 

Webbed glove for swimming in the sea. [With drawing] 

B 81 v. 


[Water bellows} [Drawings} 

These are kinds of bellows without leather and they are of admir- 
able utility and extremely durable. And their method of use is as 
follows: The bellows is always from the centre downwards full of 
water, that is M N, and in the continual revolution of the bellows 2V 
rises until it reaches the air hole 5 T which is made in the outside of 
the second covering, as appears in the instrument below, and comes to 
meet with the said pipe 5 T the hole o which is in the reservoir N> 
and as much as is the volume of water that goes from N to M so 
much air enters through the hole o in the reservoir N, and as much 
air is driven out of the reservoir M as AT gives it of water. And the 
air which is driven out from M by the water is that which blows the 
bellows. The said bellows should be of oak because this resists water 
for the longest time, and have inside it a coating of turpentine and 
pitch, so that when it is not in use the part above which is out of the 
water does not come to open; and this type of bellows is turned by the 
weight of a man walking above on the steps. 

It would also be extremely useful to cause it to turn by the force of 
a fall of water. 

The base of the bellows below the tube S T remains fixed, and the 
rest turns there within as a case would within its cover. 

Use salt water so that it may not become foul in the bellows. 

B 82 r. 
[With drawings of machine] 

To produce a marvellous wind. E 33 v. 

The current will be so much the more abundant as the small doors 
open with less descent, (discesat MS. dissci . . .) 

The whole space of the small doors is equal to the whole space of 
the width of the pipe. E 34 r. 



Here the calculation of the power is not at present fixed. 

But you, reader, have to understand that this has a use, which arises 
by means of the saving of time, which saving springs from the fact 


that the instrument which conveys the earth up from below is always 
in the act of carrying it and never turns back. The adversary says that 
in this case it takes as long to turn round in a useless circle as to turn 
back at the end of the forward action. But since the additional spaces 
of time that are interposed between the spaces of useful time are equal 
in this and in all other inventions, it is necessary to search here for a 
method whereby the time may be spent in as vigorous and effective 
a method of work as possible, which will be by inventing a machine 
that will take more earth; as will be shown on the reverse of this page. 

The winch n as it turns causes a small wheel to revolve, and this 
small wheel turns the cogged wheel /, and this wheel / is joined to 
the angle of the boxes which carry the earth from the swamp and 
discharge themselves upon the barges. But the two cords m f and m b 
revolve round the pole /, and make the instrument move with the two 
barges against m, and these cords are very useful for this purpose. 

The pole is so made as to descend to as great a depth as the wheel 
has to descend in order to deepen the water of the marsh. E 75 v. 

As the attachment of the heavy body is further from the centre of 
the wheel the revolving movement of the wheel round its pivot will 
become more difficult although the motive power may not vary. 

The same is seen with the time of clocks, for, if you place the two 
weights nearer or farther away from the centre of the timepiece, you 
make the hours shorter or longer. F 7 v. 

[Magnifying glasses] 

Lens of crystal thickness, at the sides the twelfth part of an inch. 
This lens of crystal should be free from spots and very clear; and at 
the sides it ought to be the thickness of a twelfth of an inch, that is 
to say of the one hundred and forty-fourth part of a braccio, and thin 
in the centre according to the sight that it ought to serve for, that is 
to say according to the proportion of those lenses which agree with it; 
and let it be worked in the same mould as these lenses. The width of 
the frame will be one sixth of a braccio and its length one quarter of 
a braccio; consequently it will be three inches long and two wide, that 
is to say a square and a half. And this lens should be held at a distance 
of a third of a braccio from the eye when used, and it should be the 


same distance from the letter that you are reading. If it is farther 
away this letter will appear larger, so that the ordinary type of print 
will seem like a letter on an apothecary's chest. 

This lens is suitable for keeping in a cabinet; but if you wish to keep 
it outside make it one eighth of a braccio long and one twelfth wide, 

F 25 r. 
[A pedometer} [Figure] 

In order to know how far one goes in an hour take the potter's wheel 
constructed as you see, and place above the instrument, of which the 
centre may be upon a circular line which turns exactly five braccia, 
the diameter being one and -|f braccia. Then tightly close the instru- 
ment, have harmonic time, smear all the inside of the instrument with 
turpentine, turn the wheel uniformly and notice where the top layer 
of dust has stuck to the turpentine, and see how many revolutions 
the wheel has made and in how many beats of harmonic time. And 
if the wheel has made two revolutions in one beat of time, which 
amounts to ten braccia, that is to say the three-hundreth part of a mile, 
you will be able to say that this instrument has moved a mile in three 
hundred beats of time, and that an hour is one thousand and eighty 
beats of time; which will make three miles an hour and one hundred 
and eighty three-hundredth parts. F 48 v. 

[A decoration] 

If you make small pipes after the manner of goosequills, which are 
opaque and white with a coating of black within and then transparent, 
and with sardonyx outside and then transparent; and let all the thick 
portion of the pipes be made up of these mixtures, and then moisten 
them and press them and leave them to dry in the press; if you press 
them flat they will give one effect, if you press them into a rectangle 
they will give another and similarly if you press them into a triangle; 
but if you press them in front or folded in different ways you will also 
do well. 

And if in the transparent part exposed to the sun you make with a 
small style a mixture of different colours, especially of black and 
white opaque, and yellow of burnt orpiment, you can make very beau- 
tiful patterns and various small stains with lines like those of agate. 

F55 v. 




Lamp in which as the oil becomes low the wick rises. 

And this proceeds from the fact that the wheel which raises the 
wick rests upon the oil. As the oil diminishes so the wheel descends, 
and as it descends it revolves by means of the thread that is wrapped 
round its axle, and the cogs of the wheel push the toothed pipe that 
receives the wick. 

It will also do the same if a the axle of the wheel does not descend, 
and the only descent is that of the light object b which floats upon the 
oil, for this light object descends at the same time as the surface of 
the oil, and causes die wheel to turn, and this by means of its cogs 
pushes up the aforesaid cogged pipe with a slow movement. 

G 41 r. 


[With drawings] 

This can also be made without a spring, but the screw above must 
always be joined to the part of the movable sheath. 

No coins can be considered as good which have not the rim perfect; 
and in order to ensure the rim being perfect it is necessary first that 
the coins should be absolutely round. 

In order to make this it is necessary first to make the coin perfect 
in weight, breadth and thickness; therefore you must first have many 
plates made of this [uniform] breadth and thickness drawn through 
the same press, and these should remain in the form of strips, and 
from these strips you should stamp out the round coins after the man- 
ner in which sieves are made for chestnuts, and these coins are then 
stamped in the way described above. 

The hollow of the mould should be uniformly and imperceptibly 
higher at the top than at the bottom. 

This cuts the coins of perfect roundness, thickness and weight, and 
saves the man who cuts and weighs, and saves also the man who 
makes the coins round. 

They pass therefore merely through the hands of the worker of the 
plate and the stamper, and they are very fine coins. G 43 r. 



Among the accidental forces of nature, percussion greatly exceeds 
each of the others created by the motive powers of heavy bodies in 
equal time with equal movement, weight and force. This percussion 
is divided into simple and compound. Simple is that in which the 
motive power which is the striker is joined with the movable thing 
at its junction at the place struck; compound is that in which the 
movable thing as it strikes does not end its movement at the place of 
its impact, as does the hammer which strikes the die that stamps the 
coins. And this compound percussion is much weaker than simple 
percussion, for if the flat end of the head 1 of the hammer were to 
attach itself to the coin which it had to stamp and which it had struck 
upon the mould where was the impression, so that on this flat end 
of the head of the hammer there had been engraved the relief that 
was on the coin in reverse, the impression would be more definite and 
clear on the side struck with simple movement than on the side where 
the percussion is compound; as with the coin that remains struck in 
the die where the hammer has struck it in its descent, the percussion 
being reflected and thrown back against the front of the hammer. 

G 62 v. 


[Of the siphon] 

A preparation of mercury drawn through very fine copper of the 
shape of a siphon, the sides through the length of which the liquid 
rises and falls being of imperceptible thickness, will be seen to form 
a time-piece after the manner of an hourglass, and this is the slowest 
and most graduated descent that can be made, so much so that it may 
happen that in an hour not one grain of the mercury passes from one 
vessel to the other. 

And the surface of its container is sensitive by reason of the opacity 
of the mercury, the skin of this mercury becoming imperceptibly low- 
ered with the descent that occurs as the siphon discharges itself; and 
by this means you will be able to create a fire which by means of per- 

S. bocha. 


cussion will generate itself at the end of a year or more, and this with- 
out any sound down to the moment of the creation of the fire. 

And it is shown in the margin at the foot of the fourth page (folio 
48 r.) how one ought to fix or set up this vessel, which by the power 
observed gives the result which is promised us at the end. G 44 v. 


The ancients have employed different methods in order to discover 
what distance a ship traverses in each hour. Among them is Vitruvius 
who expounds one in his work on architecture, but his method is falla- 
cious like the others. It consists of a wheel from a mill touching the 
ocean waves at its extremities, and by means of its complete revolutions 
describing a straight line which represents the line of the circumference 
of this wheel reduced to a condition of straightness. But this device is 
only of value on the smooth still surface of lakes; should the water 
move at the same time as the ship with an equal movement the wheel 
remains motionless; and if the movement of the water be either more 
or less swift than that of the ship, then the wheel will not have a move- 
ment equal to that of the ship, so that such an invention has but litde 

Another method may be tested by experiment over a known distance 
from one island to another, and this is by the use of a light board which 
is struck by the wind, and which comes to slant to a greater or less 
degree as the wind that strikes it is swifter or less swift, and this is in 
Battista Alberti. 

As regards the method of Battista Alberti which is founded upon an 
experiment over a known distance from one island to another, such an 
invention will work successfully only with a ship similar to that with 
which the experiment has been tried, and it is necessary that it should 
be carried out with the same freight and the same extent of sail, and 
with the sail in the same position, and the waves of the same size. But 
my method serves with every kind of ship, whether it be with oars 
or sail; and whether it be small or large, narrow or long, high or low, 
it always serves. G 54 r. 


[With drawing] 


Show all the ways of unlocking and releasing. Put them together in 
their chapter. i 28 v. 


To warm the water of the stove of the duchess add three parts of 
Warm water to four parts of cold water. i 34 r. 

[With ground flan of Castle of Milan] 
A way of flooding the castle. i 38 v. 


To make a beautiful garment take fine cloth and give it a strong- 
smelling coat of varnish made of oil of turpentine; and glaze it with 
eastern [scarlet] kermes, having the stencil perforated and moistened 
to prevent it from sticking. And let this stencil have a pattern of knots, 
which should afterwards be filled in with black millet, and the back- 
ground with white millet. i 49 [i] v 

[With drawing] 

Water-clock which sounds twenty-four hours and the water falls 
half a braccio. 

Water-clock which shows the value [of time], L 23 v. 

[With drawing] 

[With drawing of press] 
To press wine and oil in casks bound with iron. L 27 r. 


Machines for drying the trenches where the water has overflowed. 

L 69 v. 



[With sketch] 

Four straps for the length and eight across. 

And each of the straps to be buckled at one end and nailed at the 
other. L 70 r. 

[Movable bridge] 

Bridge to draw horizontally with a windlass. 

Let a be a pulley b the windlass. 

c n will be a pavement of flagstones which has a tube beneath it 
through which the chain passes. 

This is the front of the said bridge. 

Here is a bridge which carries with it little wheels, and another, 
better, which travels on small wheels that remain fixed in one position. 

a b is the part of the bridge that projects out of the wall; b c is the 
part that remains within. M 55 v. 

[Fittings of a stove] 

This is the lattice which comes between the eyes and the fire of the 

All the transparent part (il netto) has a breadth of a braccio and a 
quarter; and there are six thin boards but it is better that they should 
be of thin brass. 

The opening two braccia high and the transparent part one braccio 
and a quarter wide. 

You should divide it in height in two parts, so as to be able at will 
to open below and not above, in order to warm the legs. 

In the lower part you should use six boards, so that they are wider 
below than above in order to be able to put the feet to warm; above 
there should be eight, to be able to put the hands which are narrower. 

M 86 r. 

To make a pair of compasses diminish or increase a portion of their 
measurement with equal proportion in each part. 

Bind it spirally with a screw which has as much of it smooth as en- 
ters in the compasses and all the rest is carved soirallv: and this screw 


may be changed at different places throughout the length of the com- 
passes, because at different places there are holes equally distant from 
the extremities of these compasses, into which the screw can enter 
halfway as at a, a quarter as at b, and one eighth as at <:; and so it 
proceeds through the whole, and it is bound by the nut h of this screw. 

Forster i 4 r. 



Make it so that the buckets which are plunging with the mouth 
downwards have such an opening that the air cannot escape; it will 
also be a good thing that the covered exits to the buckets should be of 
terracotta so that they may be better able to pass beneath the water; 
and of copper would be best of all. Forster i 50 v. 

[Sketch of loom] 

Threads for weaving ought to be two braccia long. 

Thus one ought to lay the warp. Forster n 49 v. 

Moreover you might set yourself to prove that by equipping such 
a wheel with many balances, every part however small which turned 
over as the result of percussion would suddenly cause another balance 
to fall, and by this the wheel would stand in perpetual movement. 
But by this you would be deceiving yourself; for as there are these 
twelve pieces and only one moves to the percussion, and by this per- 
cussion the wheel may make such a movement as may be one twen- 
tieth part of its circle, if then you give it twenty-four balances the 
weight would be doubled and the proportion of the percussion of the 
descending weight diminished by half, and by this the half of the 
movement would be lessened; consequently if the first was one twen- 
tieth of the circle this second would be one fortieth, and it would 
always go in proportion, continuing to infinity. 

Forster n 89 v. 

Whatever weight shall be fastened to the wheel, which weight may 


be the cause of the movement o this wheel, without any doubt the 
centre of such weight will remain under the centre of its axis. 

And no instrument which turns on its axis that can be constructed 
by human ingenuity will be able to avoid this result. 

speculators about perpetual motion, how many vain chimeras have 
you created in the like quest? Go and take your place with the seekers 
after gold. Forster n 92 v. 

To try again the wheel which continually revolves. 

1 have many weights attached to a wheel at various places : I ask you 
the centre of the whole sum of the weight. 

I take a wheel revolving on its axis, upon which are attached at 
various places weights of equal gravity, and I would wish to know 
which of these weights will remain lower than any of the others and 
at what stage it will stop. I will do as you see above, employing this 
rule for four sides of the circle, and that where you will see greater 
difference upon the arms of the balance, that is that experiment which 
will throw you the sum of one of the gravities more distant from the 
pole of the balance, that will go on and become stationary below; and 
if you want all the details repeat the experiment as many times as 
there are weights attached to the wheel. Forster u 104 v. 

If you wish to make a boat or coracle strong, take . . . (allume 
splumie) and of these make fine cords and weave them together and 
do as one weaves the sacks after making oil of walnut, and of this 
cover your boat as you would with leather. Take from what is in the 
house, and test this by combing as with the sinew of the ox ... 

Forster in 35 r. 


Take dust of oak-apple and vitriol and reduce it to a fine powder 
and spread this over the paper after the manner of varnish; then write 
on it with a pen dipped in the saliva and it will become as black 
as ink. 




Crush an oak-apple to a fine powder and stand it for eight days in 
white wine, and in the same way dissolve vitriol in water, and let the 
water and the wine settle well and become clear each of itself, and 
strain them well; and when you dilute the white wine with this water 
it will turn red. Forster in 39 v. 


To weigh the force that goes to turn the millstone with its corn. 

Forster in 46 v. 

To measure a fall of water. Forster m 47 r. 


For taking away and placing in position rafters for the framework 
of houses and for their roofs. Forster in 56 v. 

[Sketch] [Self-closing gate] 
On one side is the shutter. Forster m 58 r. 


Anyone who spends one ducat for the pair may take the instrument, 
and he will not be paying more than half a ducat as a premium to 
the inventor of the instrument and one grosso for the operator; but 
I have no wish to be an under-official. Forster in 6r v. 

[With drawing] 

Dry or moist vapour-bath, very small and portable, weighing twenty- 
five pounds. Quaderni n 9 v. 

[With drawings] 

A method of ascertaining how far water travels in an hour. This is 
done by means of harmonic time, and it could be done by a pulse if 
the time of its beat were uniform; but musical time is more reliable in 
such a case, for by means of it it is possible to calculate the distance 
that an object carried by this water travels in ten or twelve of these 


beats of time; and by this means it is possible to make a general rule 
for every level canal. But not for rivers, for when these are flowing 
underneath the surface they do not seem to be moving above. 

Leic. 13 v. 
[Drawing: with note 'lathe for potter/] 

How many miles an hour with a wind; and here one may see with 
the water of the mill which moves it how many revolutions the wheel 
which is about five braccia makes in an hour; and so you will make 
the true rule away from the sea, making the wheel go one, two, and 
then three times in the hour; and by this means you will regulate it 
exactly, and it will be true and good. Leic. 28 r. 

[Meat-roasting jacJ(\ 

Water which is blown through a small hole in a vessel in which it 
is boiled is blown out with fury and is entirely changed into steam, 
and by this means meat is turned to be roasted. Leic. 28 v. 

[Drawing: wheel on shaft with counterpoise on suspended looped cord} 
In order to see how many miles a ship can go in an hour have an 
instrument made which moves upon a smooth wheel together with 
this wheel, and so adjust the counterpoise that moves the wheel as to 
cause it to move for an hour; and you will be able to see how many 
revolutions this wheel makes in the hour. The revolution of the wheel 
may be five braccia, and it will make six hundred revolutions in a 
mile. And the glass should be varnished or soaped on the inside, so 
that the dust that falls from the hopper may attach itself to it; and the 
spot where it strikes will remain marked; and by this means you will 
see and be able with certainty [to discern] the exact height where the 
dust struck, because it will remain sticking there. Leic. 30 r. 


'When besieged by ambitious tyrants I find a 
means of offence and defence in order to pre- 
serve the chief gift of nature, which is liberty' 

7 can noiselessly construct to any prescribed 

point subterranean passages either straight or 

winding, passing if necessary underneath 

trenches or a river! 

[How to ma\e a pontoon] 

Since every river current is swifter in the centre of its breadth than 
at its sides, and flows faster on its surface than in its bed when the 
course is equal, and a movable bridge made upon barges is in itself 
weaker in the middle of its length than towards the extremities, there- 
fore I conclude that as the greater weakness of the bridge is accom- 
panied by the greater percussion of the water this bridge will break 
in the centre. 

Make it so that in the movement of the bridge the length of the 
barges will always find itself in line with the current, when the move- 
ment will be so much easier as the barges receive less percussion from 
rthe water. C.A. 176 r. c 


The tower must needs be massive as far as the end of the scarp, then 
in order that powder may not be thrown there you must make the 
windows high. 


If you place between two thicknesses of cloth scales of iron[?] * and 
with this make a doublet you may take it as certain that no point will 
ever be able to penetrate. C.A. 358 v. a 

1 MS. /. (fcrro?) 



Again a bombard that takes a projectile weighing a hundred pounds 
is of considerably more use in the field than a small cannon, for that 
with pieces of rock inflicts considerable damage upon the enemy, and 
the small cannon or rather its ball, being of lead, does not rebound 
after the first blow by reason of its weight, and on this account it is 
less useful. 

If you set an arrow so that it is just in equilibrium on top of a stone 
which seems on the point of falling over, you will perceive that a large 
bombard if discharged at a distance of ten miles from this arrow will 
cause such a tremor of the ground as to make the said arrow fall, or the 
stone upon which it is balanced. 

Again if you discharge a small bombard in a courtyard surrounded 
by a convenient wall, any vessel that is there or any windows covered 
with cloth or linen will all be instantly broken; and even the roofs will 
be somewhat heaved up and start away from their supports, the walls 
and ground will shake as though there was a great earthquake, and 
the webs of the spiders will all fall down, and the small animals will 
perish, and every body which is near and which is possessed of air 
will suffer instant damage and some measure of loss. 

But this small bombard should be discharged without its shell or if 
you so desire after the fashion of the curtail; 1 and it will cause women 
to miscarry and also every animal that is with young, and the chicks 
will perish in their shells. C.A. 363 v. d 

Having to make mounds of earth on the two opposite sides of the 
river this is the most expeditious manner in which it can be done, 
provided you have men with hand-barrows: 

Allowing six shovelfuls to each hand-barrow, and casting the earth 
at a great distance: 

The diggers d enter underneath a shovelful, always drawing them- 
selves back, and the diggers b make another second shovelful below, 
that is deeper down, always going forward; and if there were two 
other similar lines of diggers these would go beneath the third and 
fourth shovelful, and so successively they would be able to continue 
from hand to hand. 

1 MS. cortdldo. 'Curtail, a kind of cannon with a comparatively short barrel, in use 
ia the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.' Oxford English Dictionary. 


Here many men become fatigued merely by taking loads for so great 
a distance, so that we have to consider whether it is better that the men 
should remain in one spot and throw the soil from one to another, or 
should all be employed in digging and throwing, or whether some 
should be carriers of this soil and others throwers. For as regards the 
place where this earth is discharged it requires as much effort for 
the shovelful of the first or of the second to reach it in one way as in 
the other: nothing therefore need be considered here except the con- 
venience and endurance of the workers. C.A. 370 r. b 

[With sketch of cannon} 

The mouth one eighth of its diameter thick, and at its union with 
the tail one quarter of its diameter thick. Tr. 61 a 

If you are attacked by night in your quarters or if you fear to be, 
take care to have mangonels in readiness which can throw iron 
caltrops; and, if you should be attacked, hurl them in among the 
enemy and you will gain time to set your men in order against their 
assailants, the outwitted enemies, who because of the pain caused by 
the wounds in their feet, will be able to effect little. And the plan of 
your attack you will make thus : divide your men into two squadrons 
and so encircle the enemy; but see to it that you have soles to your 
shoes and that the horses are shod with iron, as I have said before, 
since the caltrops will make no distinction between your men and 
those of the enemy, and see that each mangonel throws a cartload of 
the said caltrops. 


If you wear between the foot and the sole of the shoe a sole of cloth 
woven of cords of cotton of the thickness of a finger you will be safe 
from caltrops, which will not thrust themselves into your feet. 

If you wish to be safe from light shifting sand upon the galleys, have 
heavy river sand strewn upon the gangway and where you have to set 
your feet; and pitch will fix this, and keep sacks always in readiness 
for when they may be needed. Tr. 88 a 

You should make caltrops of plaster with the arch of iron and the 
moulds in three parts, and then the points should be filed. \Below 


sketches of three caltrops with jour points and of one with eight, each 
of the four being duplicated close together below this is written 
'double caltrop'.] 

These caltrops should be kept in a leather bag by the side of each 
person, so that if the expected victory should be changed to a defeat 
through the strength of the enemy, the fact of these being scattered 
behind them would be the cause of checking the speed of the horses 
and of bringing about the unhoped-for victory. 

But lest in retreating this crop should be the cause of a similar mis- 
take for yourselves, you should first have made ready the irons for the 
horses in the form represented below, and have nailed between the 
iron and the horse's foot a plate of steel as thick and wide as the above- 
mentioned horse's iron. 

And in the case of foot-soldiers they should have iron plates fastened 
to the soles of their shoes, not tied tightly, so that they may be able 
easily to raise their heels and take steps and run when necessary with- 
out any restraining obstacle, and the knot that is left loose should be 
as it is represented here below. 

Moreover if you have a small bag of them by the side of each naval 
combatant and they are then thrown by hand on the enemy's galleys 
or ships they will be sowing the seed of the approaching victory; but 
you should have the shoes bound with iron, as was said above, and 
covered over below with tiny points, in order that if it should come 
about that soft soap be thrown upon your ship you will be able to 
keep your feet, even though the enemy should throw chalk in the 
form of powder in such a dense cloud as to devastate the air which is 
breathed into the lungs. 

You should set up four stations at four positions in the length of the 
ship, and at each of the four stations let there be a small barrel with a 
certain quantity of water, and large syringes which serve to force the 
water out through many small holes, so that the water may become 
changed into spray and may thus accompany the dust of the chalk 
and draw it downwards. 
\Three sketches below] 

syringe; iron sole for shoes; iron for horse for caltrops. Tr. 90 a 


[Drawing of fire-ball} 

This ball as it is thrown becomes extinguished, and as it reaches the 
ground the canes which are bound at the top with linen cloth that has 
been set alight are driven into it, thus igniting the powder which is 
all round a piece of tow that has been soaked in turpentine, the rest 
o it being wrapped in hemp which also has been soaked in turpentine, 
oil of flax, and pitch, and the wrappings should be thin in order that 
the flames may get the air, for otherwise you will do nothing. 

4*. 1 


This rhomphea can be drawn with army horses, as the ancients drew 
other instruments. 

This [small drawing of instrument} is attached to the centre of a 
piece of plank, or piece of chain, or stout cord, that is fastened to a 
lump of stone heavier than the plank and so drawn behind the plank, 
which on the front edge is full of spontoons of the length of a cubit, 
and the said plank will be twelve braccia long, and its surface is 
studded with nails. B 7 r. 


A scorpion is a machine which can hurl stones, darts and arrows; 
and if it is made large it will be suitable for breaking the machines of 
the enemy. 

Other authors are of opinion that a scorpion is a poisoned arrow 
which however little it may touch the blood causes instant death. And 
it is said that this weapon was found among the Scythians, others 
say among the inhabitants of Candia. The brew was made of human 
blood and serpent's venom. This weapon should not be used except 
against traitors, for it comes from them. B 7 v. 


The catapult according to Nonius and Pliny is an instrument 
invented by that Ticlete, 2 which threw a dart of three cubits, and with 

1 The notes on instruments of warfare in this manuscript, B of the Institut, are 
extensively derived from the De re militari of Roberto Valturio. 
*Tiglath Pileser? (Ravaisson-Mollien). 


iron on three sides, thrown by means of wood released from the con- 
traction of twisted sinews. 

A bit of thin steel also springing back when released will have power 
to drive a dart swiftly when it stands in its course. B 8 r. 


The rhomphea is an instrument which throws out long brands of 
burning wood; it was used among the Thracians according to Aulus 
Gellius, and by the men of other nations it was called flammea. 


The bow is said to have been invented by the inhabitants of Arcadia, 
some say by Apollo; those of Candia call it Scythian as coming 
from Scythia. And it is much in use among the eastern peoples. They 
make arrows of canes for these bows, and in their battles there are 
sometimes so many of them in the air that the day becomes so 
darkened as to seem like night. So for this reason they have a hatred 
of the clouds and the rain and the winds no less, because they divert 
the course of their arrows; and these causes often bring treaties and 
peace among them. B 8 v. 

The spikes (murict) or caltrops (tribolf) are for use on the field of 
battle, in order to scatter them on the side on which there is reason to 
expect the assault of the enemy, and also for throwing among the 
enemy when they follow up their victory. 

The scalpro was a sharpened iron used to prick and control elephants. 
Livy in the Seventh Book of the Carthaginian War says that many 
more elephants were killed by their own governors than by the enemy. 
For when these beasts got enraged with them the governor with a 
mighty blow thrust the sharp scalpro between the ears where the neck 
joins the spinal column; and this was the most rapid death that could 
be given to so huge a beast. 

The veruina according to what I find in a comedy of Plautus * is a 
long spear with a sharp iron point for hurling. 

1 The reference is to Plautus's Bacchides, Act 4, Scene 8, 1. 46. Si tibi est machaera, 
et nobis veruina est domi. 


The soliferreo is a kind of weapon entirely of iron which the soldiers 
used to throw at their first assault. Livy mentions it in the fourth 
book of the Macedonian War. 

Fonda (sling) is made of a double cord and is somewhat wide where 
it is bent, and being weighted with a stone and then turned twice in 
rapid succession by the arm it releases one of the cords, and the stone 
flies with a noise through the air as if it proceeded from a catapult. 
Flavius * says that it is found among the inhabitants of the Balearic 
Isles, that they have supreme skill in die use of it, and that the mothers 
do not allow their children any other kind of food than what has been 
brought down by them as a mark with a stone shot from a sling. 
Pliny on the other hand says that this sling was invented by the Syro- 
phoenician peoples. 

Glande are leaden balls shot with catapults and slings. B 9 r. 

Auctori according to Celidonius are sickle-shaped weapons with a 
cutting edge on one side only and the length of a braccio. They have 
the handle forked after the fashion of the tail of a swallow. They are 
not carried in a sheath but bare, attached to the girdle. 

Danish are a rather long kind of hatchet: they are said to have been 
much in use among the Danish peoples. But what has to be taken into 
account with respect to instruments of warfare made of iron is that 
that which has been steeped in oil will have a fine edge, and that 
which has been immersed in water will be rough and brittle. Those 
which are soaked in the blood of a goat will be the hardest. Oil, white 
lead and pitch preserve iron from all rust. 

Falce (scythe) is of iron, crescent-shaped, and with a staff fastened 
to one of its horns. This weapon was much in use among the Thracians 
and in naval combats no less than on land. It was afterwards con- 
verted for the use of husbandmen and peasants. 

They were used by the Romans upon their ships; unheard of in 
size and skilfully manipulated by means of ropes they severed the ropes 
of the lateen yards as though they were razors, and' caused the sails to 
fall at the same time as the yards, so that what ought to have been a 
help to the enemy was a great hindrance to them. 

Fragilicha is a ball half a foot across, filled with small barrels made 

1 Flavius Josephus? (Ravaisson-Mollien). 


of paper and crammed with pepper, sulphur and ... of Corsica 
(conocorsico). And whoever receives the smell of it falls in a swoon; 
and in the centre of this ball is the powder of a bombard which when 
kindled sets fire to all the barrels, and when it is first thrown among 
the troops with a sling the fire catches a wisp of straw, and the sparks 
proceed to spread over a space of a hundred braccia. B 9 v. 



These cars armed with scythes were of various kinds and often did 
no less injury to friends than they did to enemies, for the captains of 
the armies thinking by the use of these to throw confusion into the 
ranks of the enemy created fear and loss among their own men. 
Against these cars one should employ bowmen, slingers and hurlers 
of spears, and throw all manner of darts, spears, stones and bombs, 
with beating of drums and shouting; and those who are acting thus 
should be dispersed in order that the scythes do not harm them. And 
by this means you will spread panic among the horses and they will 
charge at their own side in frenzy, despite the efforts of their drivers, 
and so cause great obstruction and loss to their own troops. As a pro- 
tection against these the Romans were accustomed to scatter iron 
caltrops, which brought the horses to a standstill and caused them to 
fall down on the ground from pain, leaving the cars without power of 
movement. B 10 r. 


You ought when you wish to make the passage of a river with an 
army to make use of wine-skins attached to the saddle, and, as the 
horses are not able to swim much on account of the waves leaping up, 
you should carry an oar fastened to the neck behind so that [the rider] 
can work it when rjecessary. B 10 v. 

[With drawings: flammed, pilocrotho, arzilla, crusida, lampade, astula] 

The flammea is a ball put together in this manner: Let rite following 

things be boiled together, the ashes of willow, saltpetre, aqua vitae, 

sulphur, incense, and melted pitch with camphor, and a skein of 


Ethiopian wool which after merely being soaked in this mixture is 
twisted into the shape of a ball and filled with sharp spikes and thrown 
on ships with a cord by means of a sling. 

This is called Greek fire, and it is a marvellous thing and sets fire to 
everything under the water. Callimachus the architect was the first 
to impart it to the Romans, by whom it was afterwards much employed 
and especially by the Emperor Leo, when the eastern peoples came 
against Constantinople with an infinite number of ships which were 
all set on fire by this substance. 

Pilocrotho, arzilla, crusida, flammea, lampade, although they differ 
are nevertheless almost of the same substance, and their fire is similar 
to that spoken of above, that is of the ftammea except for the addition 
to the said composition of liquid varnish, oil of petroleum, turpentine 
and strong vinegar, and these things are first all squeezed together and 
then left in the sun to dry, and afterwards twisted about a hempen 
rope and so reduced to a round shape. Afterwards it is drawn with 
a cord, and some bury the point of a dart in it, transfixing it after 
having wetted the dart, some bury very sharp nails within it; and a 
hole is left in the said ball or mass for tie purpose of setting it on fire 
and all the rest of it is smeared with resin and sulphur. Our fore- 
fathers made use of this compound pressed tightly together and bound 
to the end of a spear, in order to ward off and resist the impetuous 
fury of the enemy ships. 

Lucan says that Caesar used to make this fire in order to throw it by 
means of lamps upon the ships of the Cerusci, a people of Germany; 
he burnt not merely the said ships, but the buildings constructed upon 
the borders of the sea were consumed by a similar fire. B 30 v. 

The folgorea is a mortar with an opening in its tail circular in 
form, in the centre of which occurs a thin chanicula [chamber?] of 
iron finely perforated, with the hollow of it filled with fine powder; 
and it is made thus for two reasons, first, that when it reaches the 
centre of this ball, the fire, which passes through the chamber, lights, 
in an instant all the rest of the powder that finds itself pressed within 
this ball, secondly, so that the hole of the mortar may not become 
worn. And this round opening will not resist the might of the powder 
unless it is made of fine copper, but the rest may be made with four 


parts tin to every hundred of copper, and this is the best machine 
that it is possible to make. B 31 r. 

The dotonbrot is a ball thrown by a trabiculo, that is a lesser 
mangonel which is a braccio high and filled with the ends of cartridges 
packed all together in a tiny space. It is used for throwing into a 
bastion and there is no remedy that avails against its pestilential effect; 
but for this purpose its use would be a mistake because it does damage 
to you as well as to the enemy. And if you throw six or eight of these 
balls among the enemy you will certainly be the victor, so it is good 
to throw it in the midst of them, and light the fuse within which will 
at last set fire to the centre of all the sticks. 

This is for ships. 

When the ships are engaged, have fuses to keep the enemy back, 
and at that moment throw balls full of lighted fuses among the 
enemy, that is to say upon the ships, and the enemy being occupied 
in protecting themselves from the fire will abandon their defences. 

B 31 v. 

[With drawing of two cannon placed vertically with stand between 

Whoever wishes to make trial which is the better must raise them 
on end and two judges should be in the centre, and after first firing 
the one it must be noted how much time there is from the explosion 
to the return of the ball to the ground and then the same is done with 
the other and the one which takes longer will have the honour. 

But see that the tubes are of equal length, that the touch-holes work 
freely, that the balls are of the same weight, and the powder is from 
the same keg. B 32 r. 

[With drawing] 

If you wish to be able to ford a river with your army when you 
please you will proceed as follows: make a boat of osiers of willow 
and make it with the brims double in such a way that they open from 
below, and fill the body of it with gravel. And when you are at the 
place that you wish, open the store of gravel from below so as to cause 
it to fall to the bottom; after doing this close the receptacle and return 
to the bank to reload. You will need to have a number of these 


machines, but the actual body of the boat should be bound outside with 
oxhide to prevent it falling to the bottom, 

[With drawing] 

To make an airgun which shoots with marvellous force you should 
proceed as follows : stretch a steel wire the width of a finger on a wire- 
drawing machine by means of a windlass; then temper it, and beat 
round about it two plates of fine copper which you stretch on the wire- 
drawing machine. Then half to half solder them together with silver, 
wind thick copper wire about it and then smooth it with a hammer, 
but first solder it. And do this three or four times in the same way. 
And make [the airgun] two braccia long and make it so that it can 
shoot a dart of a third of a braccio which is of steel. B 32 v. 

The architronito is a machine of fine copper, an invention of Archi- 
medes, and it throws iron balls with a great noise and fury. It is used 
in this manner: the third part of the instrument stands within a 
great quantity of burning coals and when it has been thoroughly heated 
by these it tightens the screw d which is above the cistern of water 
a b c\ and as the screw above becomes tightened it will cause that 
below to become loosened. And when consequently the water has 
fallen out it will descend into the heated part of the machine, and 
there it will instantly become changed into so much steam that it will 
seem marvellous, and especially when one sees its fury and hears its 
roar. This machine has driven a ball weighing one talent six stadia. 

33 r - 
[Fire-ball] [With drawing] 

This ball should be made of melted pitch, sulphur and tow of hemp 
rubbed together so that when it burns the enemy may not carry off 
the invention. 

This ball should be two and a half braccia in height and filled with 
tubes which can throw a pound of balls, and these should be coated 
with pitch within the tubes so that they do not fall. 

The tubes should be a braccio in length, and made of pasteboard 
after the manner of spokes, and the space between them should be 
filled with plaster and wadding; and the ball should be thrown upon 
the bastions by means of a mangonel. 

The centre of it will be a cannon-ball to which the tubes serve as 


good epaulets, or a hollow ball of bronze which may be partly filled 
with powder, with its circumference perforated so that the fire is able 
to penetrate to the tubes; and the ball should be all tied up on the 
outside except for a hole to serve as a passage for the fire. B 37 r. 

\With drawings] 

Cortalds (short pieces of artillery) are good against big ships. 

The serpentine (passavolante) is useful for light galleys in order to 
be able to attack the enemy at a distance. It can throw four pounds of 
lead and ought to be as long as forty cannon balls. 

This spontoon will fasten the instrument into the ship if the blow is 

This zepata is good for setting fire to ships which have kept a block- 
ade after having besieged some harbour or other ships in the harbour, 
and it should be made thus: first wood a braccio above the water, 
then tow, then powder as used for a bombard, then tiny faggots and so 
gradually larger ones; and put iron wires and burning rags on the top; 
and when you have the wind as you want it direct the rudder. And as 
the fire m spreads in the ship the bent wires will set fire to the powder, 
and it will do what is necessary. 

It is also useful for setting fire to bridges at night, but make its sail 
black. B 39 v. 


Acinace. Acinace is the name of this knife: it was so called among 
the Scythians and Medes, according to the statement of Aero, 

Daga. This among the Ligurians was called daga. 

Ensis. Gladius. Ensis and gladius are a kind of weapon, and, accord- 
ing to Quintilian in the tenth book of his Institutions, they are the 
same thing. 

According to Pliny in the sixth book of Natural History, the gladius 
was invented by the Lacedaemonians. 

According to Varro, when the gaesum (javelin) became obsolete 
the gladius was used in its place. It has been called adis because it was 
used for the destruction and death of the enemy. 

Spada, ensis, and gladius are names of arms universally known and 
especially among the ancients. 


Arpa. Arpa, according to Lucan in the ninth [book], is said to be a 
sword of the shape of a sickle with which Perseus slew the Gorgon. 
The bows were called manubaleste. B 41 r. 

Lingula, according to what Naevius says in one of his tragedies 
called Ceisonia, was the name of a small knife of the shape of a bird's 

Machaera is a kind of long weapon with one part of it sharpened. 
Caesar mentions it in the second of his Commentaries. 

Stragula is a kind of lance for throwing and for using with the 
hand. Caesar mentions this also in the second of his Commentaries. 

Doloni are a kind of weapon mentioned by Plutarch in the life of 

Others are of the opinion that doloni are whips with daggers con- 
cealed in their handles. 

Sica is a small knife used by assassins in ancient times, who were 
called steam from the name of the knife according to Quintilian in the 
ninth book of the Institutions. x B 41 v. 

Pugio, according to Pompeius Festus, is a short double-pointed knife, 
Varro says that pugio is the name given to a long lance with iron. 
Clunade (dunaculum) is a sacrificial knife. 

Secespita is a long knife with a round handle made of a piece of 
ivory and ornamented with gold and silver. It is used by the high 
priests and the flamens for the sacrifices. 

Some say it is the axe (scura) and some that its edge resembles that 
of the manara. 

Mucro is identical with ends and gladius, according to Priscian in 
the second book of the Ars Grammatica. 

Adides, according to the opinion of Servius, are a kind of weapon 
so ancient as to have been entirely overlooked in war. Nevertheless we 
read that they were pieces of wood, some half a cubit in length and 
some circular; and in them were fixed iron points which were sharp 
and projected; and they were hurled among the enemy with a cord 
or leathern thongs, and he who received the blow soon knew who had 
given it. B 42 r. 

1 c. *per abusionem sicarios etiam omnes vocamus, qui cacdem telo quocumqus 
commiserint* Quint. 10, i, 12. 


Telo (telum) was the word generally applied by the ancients to all 
those things which in war were suitable to be thrown with the hands, 
such as darts, clubs, arrows, spears, lances, stakes and stones. 

Veruto. The veruto (yerutum) (javelin), according to Nonius Mar- 
cellus, is a small weapon and very straight. 

FustL Fusti (fustis) (club) were the first weapons that the human 
race used, and they are today called stakes by countryfolk; and their 
points were somewhat charred. 

Baculo. The baculo (baculum) is a stick without a hook to it with 
which unhappy slaves were beaten. 

Haste (hastd) (spear) is said to have been invented by the Lacedae- 
monians. They are excellent and . . .? (flestante) when made of ash 
or hazel, but better still when made from the service tree, because 
this is more supple and flexible. 

Astili are the smaller lances which are thrown deftly with the hands. 

Cuncti (contt) are very long and stout pikes without iron but having 
their point sharpened. Lucan makes mention of them. 

Lcmcea. Pliny says of the lance that it was invented by the Aetolians. 
Varro says that lancia is a Spanish word. B 42 v. 

Pilo (pilum) was a spear in use among the Romans, resembling the 
gaesum of the Gauls and the sarissa of the Macedonians. And these 
spears were divided in their length in two equal parts and the heads 
were placed at each end. They were joined together with fish glue and 
at every half cubit bound with gut. Writers say that these spears were 
so perfect that if they were suspended by a cord in the form of a bal- 
ance they did not bend. And if one first draws it back and then drives 
it forward with fury there is no armour of sufficient strength to resist 
it. They were much in use among the Bretons. 

Giesc (gaesum) is a weapon used by the people of Gaul, and they 
are no less useful for hurling than for use in any other way. 

Ruma, pilum, rumex and telum resemble each other and resemble 
also the spams of the Gauls. 

Jaculo (javelin) is said to have been invented by Jitolus the son of 
Mars, and to this Hermes, Varro, Pompeius Festus bear witness, affirm- 
ing that javelins are rude and fashioned by rustics of poor mean con- 
dition but suitable for scattering on all sides. B 43 r. 


Sarissa. Sarissa, according to Pompeius [Festus], is a Macedonian 

Gabina. Gabina is the name given by the Illyrians to a certain kind 
of weapon of the shape o a hunting-spear (yenabuluni) or pike. 

Securis (battle-axe) is called also semicuris or semiquiris. 

Tragula. Tragula is a spear with a very sharp point of the shape of 
a javelin or dart which can be thrown by the hand according to Varro, 
Pompeius, and Caesar in the fifth of the Commentaries. 

Clava. Clava [club] is a kind of weapon which was used by Hercules, 
and it was so called because it was a big strong stick studded with 
sharp nails, and this in these rude times would be considered a very 
magnificent weapon. 

Cathegia. [Boomerang?] Some believe this clava to have been the 
cathegia which Horace calls caia and that the cathegia was a kind of 
dart in use among the Gauls which comes back at the wish of the 
thrower. According to Virgil it was greatly in use among the Germans; 
the knights made a great use of it against the infantry. B 43 v. 

Dolabra, that is, double-cutting. 

It is called two lips (labbri) after what Livy states in the eleventh 
book * of the Punic War, where he relates that Hannibal sent five hun- 
dred Africans armed with these in order to lay waste to their founda- 
tions the walls of a town. 

Bipenna. This weapon is so called because it has a sharp edge on 
both sides. The term is usually applied to it by Quintilian, in the first 
book of the Institutions. B 44 r. 

The cross was invented among the Germans, and this weapon is 
said to be in the front rank of deadly weapons, seeing that if it is 
thrown either with a cord or without among the ranks of the enemy 
it never falls there in vain. And this because it runs edgewise through 
the air and if it does not catch the enemy with one of its points it 
catches him with two, or not finding the enemy there it is driven into 
the ground, where it inflicts no less damage upon the enemy than if it 

1 As M. Ravaisson-Mollien has stated, the passage referred to is in Book XXI, para. 
xi, but as however Books XI to XX have been lost, Book XXI follows X. '. . . turn 
Hannibal occasionem ratus, quingentos fermc Afros cum dolabris ad subruendum ab 
fmo murum mittit.* 


struck the horses and the footsoldiers. From four to six of these are 
carried round the belt when one goes into the combat. 

[Drawing of caltrops with cord and thong] 

This method was much in use among the Jews and the neighboring 
peoples of Syria. And they throw them with cords and long thongs 
among the enemy on finding themselves vanquished and routed by 
them; whereby they being thrown down are made to cease their 

And they also sow them upon their own line. 

Telico. These were in use among the first men; and they were made 
of cane, that is to say that having taken a piece of cane with two knots 
they split one through the middle and used it as the feather of the 
arrow; and the other they made into a point and filled it with earth so 
as to weight it, and they threw these by means of a cord. B 44 v. 

Scourge (flagettum) . This also was among the number of the primi- 
tive and rustic arms. 

Scythian arrow. The arrow is a simple weapon which was much in 
use among the Arabs. It was invented by the Scythians, and consists of 
a piece of green wood of which the end has been burnt; and it may be 
thrown either by means of a cord or without. If it is held it may be 
used also as a javelin. 

Ganci, ruffili and roncili are maritime weapons in use among pirates. 
By means of hooks they are accustomed to grapple the edges of ships, 
and if any of the ship's defenders should approach them they wound 
them and drive them before them, and then return to the edges where 
they were before and dig them deep into the ships so that they cannot 
escape. B 45 r. 

Sirile is a very long spear; it was found among the Numidians. They 
often used it in order to throw down their enemies, and they rode on 
horseback without saddle or stirrup, armed only with a doublet stuffed 
with cotton over which were fastened the hooks of the long sirile; and 
[the enemy] taken by surprise were easily thrown down. 

Cariffe is a broad spear with which one can attack from afar. And if 
it should come about that the combustible ball should be captured, the 
soldier can start it by striking it with the sharp iron point that is at the 


head o the spear, and thus recovering it would scourge the wretched 
soldiers [of the enemy]. 

Miricide is a spear three braccia in length, and five braccia and a 
half when extended: the soldiers use it in the way in which rustics 
thresh corn. 

Malcoli, according to Ammianus Marcellinus, are a kind of dart or 
arrow. The stem is of cane and where the cane ends a distaff is joined 
like that used for spinning, and on this distaff the iron is fixed. Tow 
steeped in pitch should be placed in the hollow of the said distaff, and 
it should be set fire to and thrown gently so that the rush of the air 
may not extinguish it. Some say that within this cavity there should 
be an inexhaustible store which should consist of resin, sulphur, and 
saltpetre which should have been liquified with oil of laurel, or some 
say petroleum oil a and fat of duck, and marrow of meat, and fennel, 
and sulphur, resin and camphor with . , . [rasa?] and tow. This mix- 
ture among the ancients was called combustible, that is something 
suitable to burn, also tow, fat, and petroleum. B 45 v. 

The Manara was much in use among the Romans. 

Irish and English bows. But the Irish in place of one corner of the 
bow have a piece of sharpened iron of the length of a cubit. 

The English and the Irish are almost the same length, that is four 
braccia each. 

Syrian bow, made of horns of buffalo. 

German bow, made of two pieces of steel and how they are set. 

The dart of the cross-bow works in this manner: namely, when the 
arrow issues forth from the cord and passes over the roller, the ring 
at the extremity of the arrow causes it to leap back after it has struck; 
but the iron continues and performs its function. 

The dart of the bow by which the arrow remains attached to the 
cord is an awl a quarter of a braccio in length, all of iron finely 
tempered; the feathers of the tail come away from the arrow as it flies 
on its way. Some there are which make a prick resembling that of a 
needle full of poison. B 46 r. 

[Drawing soldier on hor$ebac\ galloping] 
This is a mounted carabineer which is an extremely useful inven* 

1 MS. olio petrolic. 


tion. The said carabineers should be provided with pouches full of 
rolls of plain paper filled with powder, so that by frequently inserting 
them they subdue the excessive numbers of the enemy. And these 
carabineers should stand in squadrons as do cross-bowmen, so that 
when one part fires the other loads; but first make sure that you have 
accustomed the horses to such noises; or else stop up their ears. 

Order of mounted cross-bowmen on the open field: m n are cross- 
bowmen who as they turn left draw back loading, r t are those who go 
forward with cross-bows loaded, and these four files are for one route; 
a b are four files of cross-bowmen who turn with bows unloaded in 
order to load them anew; c d are those who come upon the enemy 
with their bows loaded; and this arrangement of eight lines is 
employed in open field. 

And have it so that those who have unloaded come through the 
centre, so that if sometimes they have been routed by the enemy the 
cross-bowmen who are loaded, holding themselves on the flanks, may 
cause greater fear to these same enemies. 

Order of mounted carabineers: 

See that they are well supplied with guns with a thin single fold 
of paper filled with powder with the ball within, so that they have 
only to put it in and set alight. Being thus ready they will have no 
need to turn as have the cross-bowmen when they are preparing to 
load. B 46 v. 

If anyone had formed the design of capturing a tower situated on 
the sea, he would cause one of his followers to take service with the 
commander, and when the guard was withdrawn he would affix to the 
battlements the rope-ladder given him by the enemy and would fill 
the walls with soldiers. In order to prevent this, you should divide 
the tower into eight sets of staircases, spiral in shape, and divide into 
eight parts the ramparts and the soldiers' dwellings below; then, if 
one of the mercenaries should be disposed to be a traitor, the others 
cannot hold communications with him, and the section of the rampart 
will be so small that there will not be able to be more than four there. 
The commander, whose quarters are above those of all the others, 
can drive them out by attacking them from the machicolations, or shut 
them up by means of the portcullis and then put smoke at the entrance 


to the spiral staircases. On no account is it necessary that any alien 
soldier should lodge with the commander, but only his own family. 

B 48 r. 

The confederate of the sealer of the wall should carry with him a 
ball of strong thread when he takes service with the commander, and 
when the opportunity comes the guard will draw up with this thread 
a coil of strong twine which has been given him by the sealer, and 
then with the twine he may draw up the rope which will afterwards 
be useful for drawing up the rope-ladder as shown above. B 50 r. 


Callias of Rhodes. 1 Epimachus the Athenian. 2 Diogenes, philoso- 
pher, of Rhodes. 3 Calcedonius of Thrace. Febar of Tyre. 4 Callimachus, 
architect, master of fire. B 

Fireball worked up: take tow smeared with pitch and turpentine 
and linseed oil and twist it round about in such a way as to make a 
ball; and over it place hemp soaked in turpentine of the second dis- 
tilling. And when you have made the ball make four or six holes in it 
as large as the thickness of your arm, and fill these with fine hemp 
soaked in turpentine of the second distilling and powder for the bom- 
bard; then place the ball in the bombard. 

[An arrow of fire] [Drawing] 
This is a dart to be shot by a great cross-bow laid flat, and the two 

1 Greek architect, of Arados. Built a great crane for the Rhodians which was in- 
tended to hook up and raise in the air the battering engine (fiX^itoXig) used by assail- 
ants. (Vitruvius X, 16, 5.) 

"Architect employed by Demetrius Poliorcctes to construct a battering engine so 
large that the machines of Callias were useless against it. (Vitruvius X, 16, 4.) 

8 (Diognetus Ravaisson-Mollicn.) Identical perhaps with Diognctes who according 
to Plutarch (Life of Demetrius) on being appealed to by the JRhodians in this emer- 
gency constructed subterranean trenches in which the X& of Epimachus became 
embedded, thus forcing Demetrius to raise the siege. 


B Sculptor, painter, architect. Famous for his bronze casts (Pliny XXXIV, 8, 19). 
Inventor according to Vitruvius (IV, i, 19) of the Corinthian capital; according to 
Pausanias (I, 26, 7) of a method of boring marble and a lamp of gold which used to 
burn day and night before the statue of Athene in the temple of Athene in the Acrop- 
olis, the wick being formed of some kind of asbestos that was never consumed. It is to 
this invention that the words 'master of fire* have reference. 


corners have the things which produce fire bound in linen cloth; and 
as the point buries itself the corners are pressed closer together and set 
fire to the powder and the tow that is soaked in pitch. This weapon 
is good for use against ships and wooden bastions and other similar 
constructions; and no one will make good work in this business of 
burning unless the fire is kindled only after the dart has struck, 
because, if you should wish to light the fire before, the violence of the 
wind will extinguish it on its way. B 50 v. 

[With drawings} 

A method of warding off the battering-ram with a bale of straw 
soaked in vinegar. 

A method of intercepting the stroke of a battering-ram. 

Heliopolim^ a mural machine (battering-ram)* 

Cetra, a mural machine (battering-ram). 

Febar of Tyre made use of this instrument in order to shatter the 
walls of Gades. 

Fletnisclot, a mural machine (battering-ram) , 

In order to make green fire take verdigris and soak it in oil of tur- 
pentine and pass it through the filter. 

A way to make a cart on rollers which run upon a board or floor 
or hard ground: and this is for use to move heavy weights for a short 
distance. B 51 r. 

This bombard ought to be somewhat wider at the mouth in order 
that the stones as they come out of it may scatter, and one ought to 
take a shell[?] (cocone) formed of the root of an oak in order to have 
a half ball for the bombard, and this will have a good effect in des- 
perate cases. B 54 r 

[With drawing} 

Of the way in which when the battle is begun by scaling the walls 
one may draw beams up above the top of the battlements, and then 
by giving them a push cause them to fall upon the ladders and the 
assailants; and the method of drawing the said beams rapidly should 
be made use of in the manner shown here. B 55 r. 

[With drawing} 
To show how with a mangonel one can throw a great quantity of 


burning wood upon ships together with pitch, or i you wish with 
stones or even with powder from a mortar, mixed with straw and 

Let these pieces of wood be bound and interwoven with fine iron 
wire fastened together with a chain. B 55 v. 

\With drawing] 

How one ought to defend oneself against a furious attack by sol- 
diers who are attacking a hill fort. Namely by taking barrels and 
filling them with earth and rolling them down the slope upon the 
enemy, for these will be of great benefit to those who have despatched 
them. B 56 r. 

[With drawings] 

This shield should be made of fig-wood inside, with cotton of the 
thickness of a quarter of a braccio outside it, and outside the cotton it 
will be well to put fustian with a coat of varnish; or if you make the 
outside of cotton and the inside of isinglass and tragacanth and var- 
nished, with half the amount of cotton, plain and compressed, with 
nails going from one surface to another, it will be satisfactory, and you 
can dry it in a press. 

These balls should be filled with small dust of sulphur which will 
cause people to become stupefied. 

This is the most deadly machine that exists: when the ball in the 
centre drops it sets fire to the edges of the other balls, and the ball in 
the centre bursts and scatters the others which catch fire in such time 
as is needed to say an Ave Maria, and there is a shell outside which 
covers everything. 

The rockets of these balls should be made of paper, and the space 
between each filled with plaster ready to be moulded, mingled with 
the clippings of cloths. And they should be set alight with a pair of 
bellows which will cause the flame to extend to the centre .of the ball 
among the powder, which separates at a considerable interval from 
each other all the balls filled with rockets. 

Wheel full of tubes of carbines for foot-soldiers. B 59 r. 



[With drawings} 

If you have not any information from within as to who will draw up 
the rope-ladders, you will ascend first by placing these irons in the 
crevices a braccio's space apart in the manner shown above. 

And when you are at the top, fix the rope-ladder where you see here 
the iron m\ let it be bound with tow so that you do not make any 
sound and there remain. Then if it should seem that you ought to 
draw up other ladders, do so; if not, cause the assailants to ascend 
quickly. The hook which is attached to a brace of ropes has above it a 
ring to which is fixed a rope, and this is drawn up by a jack to the 
iron above, and to this you attach a second time the hook of the above- 
mentioned braces. 

These ladders are made to carry two men. They are also useful for 
a tower where you are afraid lest the rope-ladder may be detached by 
the enemy; they should be driven so far into the wall that three eighths 
[of a braccio] is buried and one eighth is free. These pyramidal irons 
should be half a braccio in length and their distance apart half a 
braccio. B 59 v. 

[With drawings} 


It is also necessary to reflect how one ought at one's convenience to 
make the passage of rivers. First set a man upon two bags bound to- 
gether, then if you find the bottom to be suitable and that the river is 
dangerous through the rapidity of its course make use of the method 
represented below. 

If the river is dangerous by reason of its current you should set two 
lines of horses across the river at a distance of six braccia one from the 
other, and the horses in the lines should be so near as almost to touch 
each other, and the line or company of horses should have their heads 
turned towards the current of the water, and this is done solely in order 
to check and break the fury and impetus of the water. And between the 
one company and the other pass the soldiers both those with and those 


without arms. The company that is higher up the stream should be 
made up of the bigger horses in order to be better able to stem the rush 
of the river, that lower down serves to hold up the soldiers when they 
fall, and to act as a support for them as they make the passage. 

B 60 v. 

[With drawing] 

Make shelters by interlocking shields to withstand the fury of masses 
of arrows. 

The method in which the Germans when in close order link together 
and interweave their long lances against the enemy, stooping down and 
putting one of the ends on the ground and holding the other part in 
their hands. 

[With drawings] 

If the water is so high that infantry and cavalry cannot pass, the river 
should be diminished by leading off many streams, as Cyrus, King of 
the Persians, did at the taking of Babylon upon the river Ganges [sic] 
which at its maximum breadth is ten thousand braccia, Alexander like- 
wise upon the same river, Caesar upon the river Sicoris. 

If it should come to pass that the river was so deep that one could 
not cross it by fording, the captain ought to make a sufficient number of 
streams to carry off the water and afterwards give it back below to the 
river, and in this way the river would come to be lowered and could be 
crossed with ease. Alexander employed this method in India against 
King Porus at the passage of the river Hydaspes, and Caesar did the 
same in Gaul (and also in Spain) upon the river Loire; having ar- 
ranged his cavalry in two companies he caused the soldiers to pass 
through the middle of them. Hannibal did the same on the Po with 
elephants. B 61 r. 

[With drawings] 

The Egyptians, the Ethiopians and the Arabs in crossing the Nile are 
accustomed to fasten bags or wine-skins to the sides of the forequarters 
of the camels in the manner shown below. 

In these four rings in the net the baggage-camels put their feet. 

The Assyrians and the inhabitants of Euboea accustom their horses 
to carry sacks in order to be able at will to fill them with air. They carry 
them instead of saddle-bows above and at the side and well covered 


with plates o dressed leather, so that a quantity of arrows will not 
penetrate them, since they are no less concerned about a safe means of 
escape than the hazard of victory. Thus equipped a horse enables four 
or five men to cross at need. B 6r v. 

\Hotv infantry cross rivers] 

If it should come to pass that infantry have to pass a river which is 
dangerous by reason of the force of its current, this is a sure way: let 
the soldiers join arms one with another and form themselves into a line 
after the manner of a stockade, linked together by their arms; and let 
these files advance along the line of the water and let no one go across 
its course, and this is a sure way because the first being above the water 
is the one who sustains its first onset, and if he was alone the water 
would throw him down, but all the others below him hold him up and 
use him as their shield; and so by this means one after another they 
cross in safety. So it is with all: and if the fall of the river is from right 
to left each man in the file as he proceeds from the first to the second 
bank ruffles the course of the stream with his right shoulder, and on his 
left he has the right shoulder of his companion and the flowing water. 

B 62 r. 


[Wit A drawings] 

The small boats in use among the Assyrians were made of thin 
branches of willow, plaited over rods also of willow, arranged in the 
shape of a small boat, plastered over with fine dust soaked in oil or 
turpentine and so reduced to a state of mud; this was impervious to 
water and was not cleft asunder by blows because it always remained 

Caesar covered this kind of small boat with oxhide when crossing 
the Sicoris, a river of Spain, according to the testimony of Lucan. 1 
[Wit A drawing] 

The Spaniards, the Scythians and the Arabs, when they wish to con- 

1 The reference is to Lucan's Pharstdia IV, 130, etc. 

Utque habuit ripas Sicoris camposque reliquit, 
Primum cana salix madefacto vimine parvam 
Texitur in puppim, caesoque inducta iuvcnco 
Vcctoris patiens tumidum superenatat amnem. 

8 3 o WARFARE 

struct a bridge very quickly, bind the hurdles formed out of willow 
upon bags or wine-skins o oxhide, and so cross in safety. B 62 v. 

The Germans, in order to asphyxiate a garrison, use the smoke of 
feathers, sulphur and realgar, and they make the fumes last seven and 
eight hours. 

The chaff of corn also makes fumes which are thick and lasting, as 
does also dry dung; but cause it to be mixed with sanza, that is with the 
pulp of crushed olives, or, if you prefer it, with the dregs of the oil. 

B 63 v. 
[With drawing] 

How to discharge a torrent of water on the back of an army and the 
bridges and walls of a town. 

If you wish to submerge a battlefield or to break through walls with- 
out the use of cannon and have the use of a river, do as is represented 
above. That is you set piles as high as the bank of the river and put 
them half a braccio apart or farther if you have wider planks; then set 
these planks between each of the piles and so fill up [the spaces]. When 
these are filled up raise the connecting rod M, then a the upper part of 
the plank will go forward and b the lower part of the plank will go 
back. In this way the parts of the said plank will be edgewise and the 
water will be free to escape. And make the sluices all to open at the 
blow of a carbine or other signal so that they may all open at the same 
time, in order that the flow of the water upon the object which opposes 
it may be driven by a greater blow and a more impetuous force. And if 
the river have a steep descent make one of these every half mile, and let 
each of the panels open by means of a rope to insure them working 
together, and in order that he who unlocks them may be in safety. 

B 64 r. 

[With drawing] 

If you should be making a bastion at night and have need of light, 
place these lights inside lanterns and raise them up on the top of long 
poles, in order that the enemy by firing at the lights may not touch the 
sappers. And the lights should be of oil so that they may last some time, 
and the lanterns should be balanced in lamp-stands in this way [draw- 


ing in text} so that they do not upset when they are raised. And 
remember that the poles must be painted black and only erected at sun- 
set, so that the light is scarcely visible and the raising o it up is hardly 
seen by the enemy. And it should be done as noiselessly as possible, and 
there should be one overseer with a staff for every five sappers, so that 
the work may be rapid. B 70 r. 

In what way one may storm a bastion which has been made in order 
to close a passage. 

Make portable sections of bastions for a furious attack by the men; 
these should be filled with hay and they should be pointed in front in 
order that the blows of the artillery may do no damage, and joined to- 
gether so as to make the bastion of such a size as to engage all the 
mouths of the artillery and the discharge from the bridges, they will be 
able to engage the enemy with advantage. B 75 v. 

\How to attach a fortress by subterranean galleries] [With drawings] 

Rod filled with rockets for encountering the enemy at the outlet of 
a subterranean gallery [that opens] from below upwards, which will 
clear the ground of the men within the entrance. 

Rod with rockets for placing in a gallery that leads into a cellar 
which would be in a fortress and would be well guarded. 

m a b. The way of a winding gallery that will deceive the enemy 
when besieged. 

We can clearly understand that all those who find themselves be- 
sieged, employ all those methods which are likely to lead to the dis- 
covery of the secret stratagems of the besieger. You therefore who seek 
by subterranean ways to accomplish your desire, reflect well how your 
enemy will be on the alert, and how if you should make a gallery on 
one side he will make a trench up to your [gallery], and this will be 
well guarded by day and by night, for it will be supposed that the secret 
way as is natural, has its outlet in the said gallery. 

When therefore by your digging operations you show that you wish 
to come out in one particular spot, and by making the circuit of the 
fortress you come out at the opposite side, as it is shown above in m b 
a, b will be when you are almost at the outlet in a cellar that is a. You 
will have a great reserve of men who on the breaking of the wall that 
is between you and the cellar . . . 


When you have made your gallery almost to its end and it is near to 
a cellar, break through suddenly and then thrust this [rod] in front 
o you filled with rockets i you find defenders there, but if not do not 
set fire to them lest you make a noise. B 78 r. 

[Wit A drawings] 

Stlocladle. Place in the centre powder formed of dried fungi. 

These balls filled with rockets are to be thrown within the bastions 
of the enemy. 

The stlodadle is a ball a foot wide which is made up of hemp and 
fish-glue and is covered with the tails of rockets, and these tails do not 
exceed in length the length of a finger, and each tail is of fine copper 
veined or of sized pasteboard, and all the said tails have their extremi- 
ties pierced by a tiny hole, and they are all attached to a copper ball 
which is full of many paths after the manner of a labyrinth, filled with 
powder; and the said paths are full of holes that cross them which 
meet with the holes of the rockets. 

Then one sets fire to it by means of a bellows and the fire hurls itself 
through eight holes so that no one can control it or ... [ariegi?], and 
when the fire has penetrated to the centre the rockets begin suddenly 
one after another with a dreadful din to spit forth their deadly missiles. 
If you wish to make use of it on a galley make the rockets of paste- 
board, and fill the space between each with pitch mixed with powdered 
sulphur; and this will serve three purposes: first it will do harm with 
the rockets, second it will kindle a fire there which cannot be put out, 
and will burn the wood, and (third) no one will be able to approach it 
because of the great stench. 

Buffonico. The buffonico is an instrument set at the end of a lance. 
It is two braccia long and an eighth of a braccio thick. It is shod with 
iron and has a thin tube with the sight placed on the extremity through 
which it passes to the fire. 

First of all fill the cannon with the powder well crammed, pressed, 
and beaten through the mouth a b, then make a small hole an eighth 
of a braccio long and insert a small tube with a very fine hole. The 
powder should be fine and mixed with dust of lead made with a file or 
by fire; and it will cause great terror and loss to the horses and to the 
enemy, B 80 v. 


Vinea. The vinea is a machine which makes the road and levels the 
embankments. B 82 v. 

[With drawing of tanQ 

These take the place of the elephants. One may tilt with them. One 
may hold bellows in them to spread terror among the horses o the 
enemy, and one may put carabineers in them to break up every 
company. B 83 v, 


This is proved by the ninth, 'Concerning Percussion', which says: 
of things movable, in proportion to the power of the mover and die 
resistance of the medium, that which in like movement strikes with a 
larger part of itself will make a louder noise and a less violent impact; 
and that on the other hand which strikes with a less part of itself will 
make a less noise and penetrate farther into the place where it has 
struck. An example has been cited of a sword striking first with the flat 
and then with the edge, for in the one case the stroke makes a great 
noise and penetrates a very litde way and in the other it penetrates a 
long way and makes but little noise. As the flame therefore is in pro- 
portion to the projectiles driven by the pieces of ordnance which are 
thus in the medium proportioned to them, that flame which separates 
least after emerging from the piece of ordnance will be that which will 
drive the ball out with most impetus, and the flame that separates 
rapidly will do the contrary. 


A piece of ordnance which throws a ball a distance proportionate to 
its force, will in the same time throw six of the same balls a sixth part 
of the aforesaid distance. E 27 v. 


Of the chambers or receptacles for powder of pieces of artillery one 
finds three varieties of shapes; of which one is wide at the bottom and 

8 3 4 WARFARE 

narrow at the mouth; another narrow at the bottom and wide at the 
mouth; the third is of uniform width. 

There are four [ Pfive] places at which one sets fire to pieces of artil- 
lery. Of these one is the extreme upper part of the bottom of the cham- 
ber; another is at the middle of the bottom of this chamber; the third 
is as far removed from the bottom of this chamber as half the diameter 
of the circle of this bottom; the fourth receives the fire in the same 
position as the third but in the centre of the thickness of the powder; in 
the fifth the chamber is round and the fire is set in the centre of the 
chamber. But this instrument and the others which set the powder 
alight in very quick time ought to be of fine substance and well com- 
pressed. This compression occurs very rarely when the cast is of great 
thickness, because in the case of these the metal remains liquid longer 
in proportion as they are thicker, and because the parts of it which are 
most distant from the centre of this thickness are those which are 
compressed first. E 28 r. 

[Ancient military terms] 
Chiliarch = captain of thousand 
Prefects = captains 
Legion = six thousand and sixty three men. H 95 [47] v. 

[Of the trajectory of a bombard] 

If a bombard hits a mark in a straight line at ten braccia how far 
will it fire at its greatest distance? 

And so conversely if it fires three miles at its greatest distance how 
far will it carry in a straight line? 

If a bombard fires at different distances with different curves of 
movement, I ask in what section of its course will the curve attain its 
greatest height. i 128 [80] v. 


If with its maximum power a bombard throws a ball of a hundred 
pounds three miles, how far will it throw one of two hundred or three 
hundred or any other weight more or less than a hundred? 

If a bombard with four pounds of powder throws a ball weighing 
four pounds two miles with its maximum power, by how much ought 
I to increase the powder for it to carry four miles? 


If with four pounds of powder a bombard hurls a ball of four pounds 
two miles how far will six pounds of powder hurl it? i 130 [82] r. 

Of the movement of the cannon-balls of bombards, and of the nature 
of the stock and breech of these bombards. 

Whether the ball moved by force will have a greater movement than 
that which is moved with ease or no. 

Whether if a bombard can throw a ball of a hundred pounds it is 
better to put two balls of fifty pounds for one and make the stock 
narrow, or rather with the stock wide to throw one ball of a hundred 

If the bombard can throw two or three balls with ease I ask whether 
it is better to make the ball long or no. 

If a bombard throws a weight of a hundred pounds a distance of a 
mile, how far will it throw a hundred balls of one pound at one 

Whether it is better for the bombard to be narrow at the mouth and 
wide at the foot, or narrow at the foot and wide at the mouth. 

i 133 [85] v - 

If the bombard rests on the ground or a stump, or straw or feathers, 
ivhat difference will there be in the recoil? 

If two bombards can be fired in opposite directions if the breach of 
the one be placed against that of the other in a straight line. 

If the bombard is fired at sea or on the land what difference there 
will be in its power. 

What difference there is between the movements made upwards or 
crosswise, or in damp or dry weather, or when it is windy or rainy or 
with snow falling, either against or across or in the direction of the 
course of the ball? 

Where the ball makes most rebounds upon stones, earth or water. 

How the smooth ball is swifter than the rough one. 

Whether the ball revolves in the air or no. 

Of the nature of the places struck by these balls. i 134 [86] r. 

For a bastion to have spring in it, it should have a layer of fresh 
willow branches placed in the soil at intervals of half a braccio. 

K 93 [13! r. 


\Powder for a bomb-fytch] 

One pound o charcoal 

eleven ounces o sulphur 

five pounds of saltpetre. 

And mix it well and moisten it with good brandy, and dry it in 
the sun or at the fire. Then pound it until one cannot see a speck of 
sulphur or saltpetre but it is all black and uniform and fine, and 
moisten it again with the brandy and keep it so. Dry it in the sun in 
grains and crush just so much as can be placed upon the hole, and this 
will be sufficient. L 4 v. 

[For digging trenches] 
[With plan] 

At this commencement of the excavations of the trenches you have to 
place men according to the marks shown. And first of all make the 
excavation as far as possible from the place where the earth is tossed. 
For example, the earth is excavated at a g, it is carried along the line 
r c, unloaded by the line c /, and then the man turns back along the 
line / d and loads by the line r d, being always in movement. 

There is no other movement here as useful as that which removes the 
soil from the place where the line r c is marked. L 24 r. 


The wall fifteen feet thick at the base and thirteen above. 

The trench forty two braccia wide at the bottom, fifty at its mouth; 
twenty braccia in height, with water four braccia deep. L 29 r. 

Fifteen steps and a span from the battlements to the water, that is 
from the beginning of the battlements, and these steps are the distance 
from one extremity of the palms of the hands to the other, opening 
them as far as one can upon a rectilineal measure. And there are eight 
braccia and a sixth from the said beginning of the battlements to the 
summit of the turret. L 67 v. 

[Of digging a trench] 

Width of trench and its depth. Diameter of wheel and thickness of 
beam and cord. And position of men who turn it and number of men 
who work this wheel. How many there are in position and what weight 
they draw at one time, and how much time is required to fill and move 


in order to empty and turn, and similarly how many shovelfuls one 
man digs out in an hour, and what a shovelful weighs, and how far he 
throws it away from himself either upwards, across or downwards, 
beyond the hillock. ^ L cover r. 

Which will fire the farthest, powder double in quantity or in quality 
or in fineness? M 53 v. 



Plan ot drawbridge which Donnino showed me. 

And because c and d drive downwards, the space a b becomes twisted, 
consequently it ought to be strengthened by a thick iron bar bent over 
the wood on the opposite side. M 53 v. 

[Bombards and cross-bows] 

If the bombard has a recoil of a quarter of a braccio how much will 
it lose in front of its true and suitable range? 

If the unlocking of the cross-bow is made with the cross-bow fixed or 
driven forward or drawn back, what will it lose or gain upon its natural 

Which of these bombards throws farthest and how far? M 54 r. 

[Breeches of bombards] 

That part of the bronze is most compressed within its mould which 
is most liquid. 

And that is most liquid which is hottest, and that is hottest which 
comes first out of the furnace. One ought therefore always to make first 
in the casting that part of the cannon which has to receive the powder 
before that which has to contain the muzzle. 

A long breech is an embarrassment and fills up space uselessly and 
unserviceably and causes loss of speed. M 54 v. 


If you wish to find out where a mine runs set a drum over all the 
places where you suspect the mine is being made and on this drum sot- 
a pair of dice, and when you are near the place where the mining is the 
dice will jump up a little on the drum, through the blow given under- 
ground in digging out the earth. 


There are some who having the advantage of a river or swamps upon 
their land have made a great reservoir near the place where they suspect 
that the mine may be made, and have made a tunnel in the direction o 
the enemy, and having found them have unlocked the waters of the 
reservoir upon them and drowned a great number of people in the 
m i ne . M.S. 2037 Bib. Nat. i r. 

The shields of footsoldiers ought to be of cotton spun into thread 
and made into cords; these should be woven tightly in a circle after the 
fashion of a buckler. 

And if you so wish the threads should be thoroughly moistened 
before you make cords of them, and then smeared with the dross of 
iron reduced to powder. 

Then plait it in cords a second time with two, then with four, then 
with eight, and soak them every time in water with borax or linseed or 
the seed of quinces. And when you have made your cord weave the 
shield. And if you make a doublet let it be supple, light and impene- 
trable. MS. 2037 Bib. Nat. 7 r. 

If it should happen when a town is besieged that the mines made by 
the enemy have not penetrated within it, you should place men with 
the greatest possible care at intervals of ten braccia in that quarter in 
which your suspicions centre, with their ears on the ground, and as 
soon as the tremor of the sound reaches them, let them make a very 
deep trench crosswise, which will be ready to swallow up the mine 
when it comes upon it. Then have ready a vessel of iron or copper 
perforated at the bottom, and in the hole have placed the nozzle of a 
smith's bellows, and then cover over the mouth with a plate of iron, 
perforated in many places, and fill it with fine feathers; and you turn 
the mouth in the direction of the mine when it is discovered and blow 
with the bellows, after having first caused the bellows to be mixed with 
sulphur and burnt, and the smoke that issues forth will drive away the 

If however you do not wish to make the above-named trench within 
the circuit of the walls, in order not to interfere with the rounds of the 
soldiers who are defending the walls, you should make a drill as was 
shown above, and with this at intervals of two braccia you make a hole 
six braccia in depth, and make these in a circular line within the walls 


following the circle of the walls, and let it be as long as you suspect the 
mine to be. And every hour you excavate these holes one by one and 
measure them afresh within with a rod, comparing with them the 
former measurements of the holes, and if the rod should sink down 
then know that the mine is there and cause them to dig there and 
there make your defence. 

Or if you do not wish to make the test with the rod in order to 
discover a mine, go every hour with a light above each hole, and when 
you come to the hole which is above the mine the light will be imme- 
diately extinguished. MS. 2037 Bib. Nat. 8 v. 

When besieged by ambitious tyrants I find a means of offence and 
defence in order to preserve the chief gift of nature, which is liberty; 
and first I would speak of the position of the walls, and then of how the 
various peoples can maintain their good and just lords. 

MS. 2037 Bib. Nat. 10 r. 

Of the power of the bombard and the resistance of the object struck, 
that is that the ball will subdue a wall of one braccio and of two braccia 
and so of any thickness. Forster n 6 r. 


Prove in the model of the mangonel, which does not become 
exhausted as does the cross-bow, and mark with the same weight to 
what distances the different weights thrown by it are carried, and 
further in respect of the throwing of the same weight see how to vary 
the counterpoise for the mangonel. Forster n 8 r. 

Remember that the more powder there is in the carbine the more the 
length of the barrel is diminished, so that you have to pay attention to 
the proportions of your forces. Forster n 39 r. 

If you wish to escape from a city or other closed-in place, fill the 
door-lock with powder from the carbines and set fire to it; also when 
about to scale walls it will be useful in driving the enemies from the 
battlements with its blaze. Forster n 49 r. 

What substance is it which offers most resistance to the percussion <rf 
the bombard, i. e. to its passage? Forster n 53 r. 



Length ten braccia; ball an inch thick and ten long; the shape 
should taper somewhat. Forster n 56 v. 


That bombard discharges its ball to the farthest distance from itself 
which breaks its obstacles most. Forster n 57 r. 

Of the bombards narrow at the base and wide at the mouth, and so 
of those straight and those curved, and similarly of the tails narrow at 
the end and wide at the mouth; and the proof is by the flames when 
it is discharged. Forster n 58 r. 


Make a rule to apply to every description of ball, of iron as of lead 
or stone, how you ought to increase or diminish the amount of powder. 

Forster n 62 r. 


Of many bombards equal in respect of powder and ball, that from 
which in equal time there is kindled a greater quantity of fire, will 
hurl its ball more swiftly and to a greater distance. 

Of balls of equal weight that which is the swifter will seem heavier 
and will produce a greater percussion. Forster n 71 r. 

If the bombard has its stone flattened like a cheese, and the hollow 
of the bombard has a like shape, and the centre the centre of the tail 
does not encounter the centre of the stone, so that it goes revolving 
through the air, it will undoubtedly be exceedingly swift. 

For if you take a ball of six ounces and a wheel of like weight 
without angles at its edges, you will see how much greater a distance 
the one will be sent by its mover than the other; and this is also due in 
part to the revolving of its additional substance. And this happens 
because as the balls are equal in weight, from being round it strikes 
jnore air and finds more resistance^ and from being flattened it enters 


upon the air edgewise and penetrates it more rapidly, and more rapidly 
moves through it. Forster n 72 r. 

[War Machines: with drawing] 

When this is going through its own ranks, it is necessary to raise the 
machinery that moves the scythes, in order to prevent their doing any 
harm to anyone. 

How the armoured car is arranged inside. 

It will need eight men to work it and make it turn and pursue the 

This is good to break through the ranks, but it must be followed up. 

B.M, Drawings 

Naval Warfare 

'Construct it so that the wine-sfyn which serves 

as a boat, and the implements and the man who 

is there, shdl be midway between the surface 

and the bottom of the sea' 

[Notes relating to a submarine attacJ(\ 

Do not impart your knowledge and you will excel alone. 

Choose a simple youth and have the dress stitched at home. 

Stop the galleys of the captains and afterwards sink the others anc 
fire with the cannon on the fort. 
[With drawings of farts of the apparatus] 

Everything under water, that is all the fastenings. 

Here stands the man. Doublet. Hose. Level frame. 
[With drawing of small boat under poop of large] 

When the watch has gone its round, bring a small skiff under the 
poop and set fire to the whole all of a sudden. 
[With drawing of boat and chain] 

To fasten a galley to the bottom m on the side opposite to the anchor. 
[With drawing of figure in diving dress (half length)] 

A breastplate of armour together with hood, doublet and hose, and 
a small wine-skin for use in passing water, a dress for the armour, and 
the wine-skin to contain the breath, with half a hoop of iron to keep it 
away from the chest. If you have a whole wine-skin with a valve from 
the [Pball MS. da pal . . . ?palla], when you deflate it, you will go 
to the bottom, dragged down by the sacks of sand; when you inflate it, 
you will come back to the surface of the water. 

A mask with the eyes protruding made of glass, but let its weight 
be such that you raise it as you swim. 

Carry a knife which cuts well so that a net does not hold you pris- 



Carry with you two or three small wine-skins, deflated, and capable 
of being inflated like balls in case of need. 

Take provisions as you need them, and having carefully wrapped 
them up hide them on the bank. But first have an understanding about 
the agreement, how the half of the ransom is to be yours without 
deduction; and the store-room of the prisons is near to Manetti, and 
payment may be made into the hand of Manetti, that is, of the said 

Carry a horn in order to give a signal whether or no the attempt has 
been successful. 

* You need to take an impression 1 of one of the three iron screws of 
the workshop of Santa Liberata, the figure in plaster and the cast in 

[With drawing of figure of man in diving dress. His right arm ex- 
tended holds a staff which touches a square of cor^. Two bags sus- 
pended from shoulders] 

It separates from the dress if it should be necessary to break it. 
Cork which is to be fixed midway between the surface and the 
Bags of sand. 
Carry forty braccia of rope fastened to a bag of sand. 2 C.A. 333 v. a 

I will destroy the harbour. 

Unless you surrender within four hours you will go to the bottom. 
[Notes with drawings of three heads showing diving apparatus fitted 
over the nostrils} 

Have the said bag for your mouth ready for use when you are in 
die sea for was not this your secret? 

1 MS. has protare for which Piumati in his transcript o the Codice Atlantico reads 
portare. I have adopted Mtiller-Walde's reading, prontare for improntare. 

*Alvise Manetti was sent by the Venetian senate on a legation to the Turks, which 
lasted from October 1499 to the end of March 1500, to attempt some arrangement 
for the surrender of the Venetian prisoners who were removed from Constantinople to 
Lepanto after the capture of that fortress by the Turks in August 1499. Already in 
February 1500 a despatch from Manetti had arrived in Venice which showed that his 
endeavours were not likely to reach a successful issue. It was presumably at about this 
time that Leonardo, who was then in Venice, set himself to devise some method of se- 
curing the release of the prisoners through the agency of Manetti, and also to consider 
a plan for destroying the enemy's ships in the harbour by piercing them below the 


Try it first for four hours. 

Of bronze, which is fastened with a screw that has been oiled, it 
should have been made in a mould. C.A. 346 r. a 

[Drawing of buoy, below which, connected by a long bar, that moves 

freely on swivels, hangs what is apparently a very large awl or boter. 

At the side of the buoy a long tube is fastened so that one end projects 

just above it; it is bound by a number of rings, and its lower end 

terminates in a sort of bag, which is apparently fixed over the mouth 

of the diver. A dotted horizontal line shows that this is level with the 

top of the borer] 

Line to find the middle. 

In case you have to make use of the sea make an armour of copper 
by setting the plates one above another thus: [drawing]. That is, one 
inside the other, so that a hook may not grapple you. 

Measure first the depth, and if you see that it will be sufficient merely 
to bore without sinking the ship, pursue that course; otherwise faster 
it in the way indicated. 

Hole by which the water makes its exit when the ring is lowered. 

Oars. Twelve braccia the lever. Twelve braccia. For the final turn 
you need a bent lever. In order to turn this screw use a pair of slippers 
with heels, or hooks, so that the foot may stand firm. 

These are the implements which belong to it; but construct it so that 
the wine-skin which serves as a boat, and the implements and the man 
who is there, shall be midway between the surface and the bottom of 
the sea; and have a valve put in this wine-skin, so that when it is 
deflated it will sink to the bottom where your station is, and the hands 
will serve as oars. 

The way of wings. 

The smoke of [ . . . ] for use as an opiate. 

Take seed of darnel as remedy, and [ . . . ] spirits of wine in cotton. 
Some white henbane. Some teasel. 

Seed and root of mappello[?]^ and dry everything; mix this powder 
with camphor and it is made. 

1 Mappe!h, an as yet unidentified tree or shrub. In a passage in C.A. 214 r. a it is said 
to grow plentifully in the Valsasina, which is to the south of Lake Como. 


Deadly smoke (fumo mortale) : 
Take arsenic and mix with sulphur or realgar. 
Remedy rose water. 
Venom of toad, that is, a land-toad. 
Slaver of mad dog and decoction of dogwood berries. 
Tarantula from Taranto. 

Powder of verdigris or of chalk mixed with poison to throw on 
ships. C.A. 346 v. a 


Take charcoal of willow, and saltpetre, and aqua vitae, and sulphur, 
pitch, with incense and camphor and Ethiopian wool, and boil them 
all up together. This fire is so eager to burn that it will run along 
wood even when it is under water. You should add to the mixture 
liquid varnish, petroleum, 1 turpentine, and strong vinegar, and mix 
everything together and dry it in the sun or in an oven when the 
bread has been taken out, and then stick it round hempen or other 
tow, moulding it to a round form and driving very sharp nails into 
every side of it. Leave however an opening in this ball to serve for a 
fuse, and then cover it with resin and sulphur. 

This fire moreover, when fixed to the top of a long lance, which 
has a braccio of its point covered with iron in order that it may not 
be burnt by it, is useful for avoiding and warding off the hostile ships 
in order not to be overwhelmed by their onset. 

Throw also vessels of glass filled with pitch on to the ships of the 
enemy when their crews are engaged in the batde, and by then throw- 
ing similar lighted balls after these you will have it in your power to 
set every ship on fire. Tr. 43 a 

Ships made of beams. 

Ships made of osier twigs woven and bound with leather for priva- 

In order to fight against walls which face the sea or towers, with- 
draw the galleys, and before they come to the encounter raise the oars 
within so that the edges touch together, and move the ship with the 

X MS. olio petrolio. 


oars of the back part; in this manner it will seem one only, upon 
which you will set tower and fort strong and suitable for carrying any 
artillery that will be serviceable for the battle. Tr. 71 a 

{With drawing} 

These cortalds should be placed upon stout ships, and these two 
cortalds will have fastened by a strong chain or a new rope soaked 
in water a scythe twelve braccia long and a foot wide at the centre, 
and with the back of the blade of the thickness of a finger; and one 
ought to be able to fire both of them at the same time. B 49 r. 

[With drawing] 

To throw poison in the form of powder upon galleys. 

Chalk, fine sulphide of arsenic, and powdered verdigris may be 
thrown among the enemy ships by means of small mangonels. And 
all those who, as they breathe, inhale the said powder with their 
breath will become asphyxiated. 

But take care to have the wind so that it does not blow the powder 
back upon you, or to have your nose and mouth covered over with a 
fine cloth dipped in water so that the powder may not enter. It would 
also be well to throw baskets covered with paper and filled with this 
powder from the crow's nest or the deck of the ship. B 69 v. 

[With drawings] 

Ship with scorpions suitable for cutting the ropes of the big ships; 
from one tip of the sickles to the other should be four braccia; and the 
sickle should be of the shape of a crescent, one foot at its maximum 
width and of the breadth of a finger. B 76 r. 

[With drawings] 

Circunfulgore. The circunfulgore is a naval machine invented by 
the inhabitants of Majorca. It is formed of a circle of bombards, of as 
many as you please provided that the number is not uneven, since in 
order that the blow may be a vigorous one and yet the vessel may not 
spring back it is necessary that one bombard should serve as a support 
and obstacle of another, and in order to effect this it is necessary to 
set fire at the same instant to two bombards placed opposite to each 
other, so that if one wishes to flee on one side the other opposes it. 

B 82 v. 


\With drawing] 

Lances of considerable length fitted with short rockets should be 
placed within the edges of the ships, and these may be set on fire by 
means of a thin cord which comes down the length of the pole as far 
as the hand. B 83 r. 


[With drawing] 

It is necessary first that they be engaged, that is fastened together 
in such a way that you for your part can unlock yourself at your 
pleasure, so that when the ship goes to the bottom it may not drag 
yours with it. Let this be done as follows: draw a weight up to a 
height and then release it; and as it falls it will give such a blow as a 
pile-driver gives, and in falling it will draw back the head of a beam 
which is in equilibrium when upright, and as the head of the afore- 
said beam comes back the end that is below advances and staves in 
the bow of the ship. But see to it that the beam has a cutting edge so 
that as it rushes to give the stroke the water does not offer resistance 
to it. And above all see that the chains which hold the ships fastened 
together are such as can at your pleasure be severed from your side, 
so that the enemy's ship when it sinks may not drag you down with it. 

B 90 v. 


If in a battle between ships and galleys the ships are victors because 
of the height of their mast-heads, you should draw the lateen yard 
almost up to the top of the mast and attach to the extremity of this 
yard at the end that is which projects towards the enemy a small 
cage wrapped at the bottom and all round with a large mattress 
stuffed with cotton to prevent it from being damaged by bombs. 

Then draw down the other end of the lateen yard by means of the 
capstan, and the cage at the opposite end will go up to such a height 
that it will be far above the mast-head of the ship, and you will easily 
be able to drive out the men who are within it. 

But it is necessary that the men in the galley should go to the oppo- 


site side so that they may counterbalance the weight of the men 
posted in the cage of the lateen yard. MS. 2037 Bib. Nat. i v. 


If you wish to build a fleet for action you should make use of these 
ships in order to ram the enemy's ships, that is, make ships a hundred 
feet 1 in length and eight feet wide and arrange them so that the 
rowers of the left oars sit on the right side of the ship and the rowers 
of the right oars on the left side, as is shown at M (figure), in order 
that the leverage of the oars may be longer. And this ship should be 
a foot and a half in thickness, that is made of beams fastened inside 
and outside by planks set crosswise. 

And let the vessel have fastened to it a foot below the water's edge 
a spike shod with iron of the weight and size of an anvil. And by the 
might of the oars this vessel will be able to draw back after it has 
struck the first blow, and will then hurl itself forward again with 
fury and deal the second blow and then the third, and so many others 
as to destroy the ship. MS. 2037 Bib. Nat. 3 r 


Shape of the vessel [ Pbomb-ketch] which carries the mortars de- 
scribed above. And I would specially remind you to aim the cannon- 
balls attached to scythes towards the mast-head where many ropes 
unite and where the scythes will be effective. 

The scythes should be four braccia long and four braccia from one 
point to the other. And they should be shot among the ropes of the 
big ships so as to make the sails fall down. And let the ketch which 
carries them carry a sufficient quantity; and let it be of stout beams 
so that the cannon from the ships may not break them in pieces; and 
let the cannon-balls be of two hundred pounds. 

MS. 2037 Bib. Nat. 4 v. 

Of the means of defence in case the enemy should throw soft soap, 
or caltrops, or small boards studded with nails, or similar things upon 
the ships. 

1 Dimensions here given in feet, more usually in braccia. According to Fanfani's 
Dictionary, a foot was about 30 centimetres, and a braccio (fiorentino) was 58 centi- 


You should do this: keep, when you go into the combat, on your 
feet, underneath your shoes, iron soles, divided in the middle as is 
shown in the drawing above, so that it is possible to bend the feet; 
and the underside of these soles should have the form of a rasping 
file, or be filled with blunted points of nails, in order to prevent the 
soap from causing the foot to slip and so making the man fall down 
flat; and, as they are of iron, the small boards and caltrops will be 
thrown in vain. MS. 2037 Bib. Nat. 6 v. 


[Figures 1 ] 

This machine is so constructed that the scythe springs up when it is 
discharged; and the ships which carry scythes should be of this sort, 
namely without either mast or sail and with a great quantity of oars so 
that they may be swift; without a sail because the sail, mast and cord- 
age would interfere with the working of the great scythe. The machine 
is called a scorpion because of its resemblance to one and because of 
the damage it inflicts with its tail. Mantelets are fixed over the rowers 
in order that the masts, that is to say the mast-heads, or rather the 
combatants at the mast-heads, may not be able to do them any injury; 
and these should be covered with moist hides because of the fire 
thrown by the enemy. 

A way of protecting against it is for ships to be provided with chains 
of rope to a height of six braccia. 

[Figure] This ship is to serve as a defence against cannon, and it 
attacks the other ships with its cannon; it is covered with sheet metal 3 
as a protection against fire, and bristling with points of nails so that the 
enemy may not leap upon it with impunity. MS. 2037 Bib. Nat. 8 r. 


Some of the combatants in the Tyrrhenian Sea employ this method: 
they fasten an anchor to one end of the lateen yard and a rope to the 
other, and this rope at the bottom end is attached to another anchor. 
In the fight they hook the first anchor to the oars of the enemy's ship 
and by the force of the capstan draw it to the side. 

1 MS. copcrto di tolc. 


And they throw soft soap and tow, dipped in melted pitch and set 
alight, on the side to which the anchor was first made fast, so that in 
order to escape from this fire the defenders of the ship have to flee to 
the opposite side; and by doing so they rendered assistance to their 
assailants, for the galley was drawn to the side more easily because of 
this counterpoise. MS. 2037 Bib, Nat. 9 r. 


I have found in the history of the Spaniards how, in their wars with 
the English, Archimedes the Syracusan, who was then living at the 
court of Ecliderides, King of the Cirodastri, ordered that for maritime 
combats the ships should have tall masts, and on the tops of these he 
placed a small yard forty feet in length and a third of a foot wide, 
having at one end of it a small anchor and at the other a counterpoise. 

To the anchor was attached twelve feet of chain, and to the chain as 
much rope as would reach from the chain to the base of the mast-top 
where it was fixed by a small rope, going down from this base to the 
base of the mast where a very strong capstan was placed, and there the 
end of the cord was fastened. But to go back to the use of the machine, 
I say that below this anchor there was a fire which with a loud roar 
threw out its rays and a shower of burning pitch, and as this shower 
fell upon the enemy's mast-top it compelled the men stationed there to 
abandon their post; and consequently the anchor being lowered by 
means of the capstan touched the sides of the mast-top, and thus in- 
stantly cut the rope placed at the base of the mast-top to support the 
rope which went from the anchor to the capstan. And drawing the 
ship . . . MS. 2037 Bib. Nat, 9 v. 

How by an appliance many are able to remain for some time under 
water. How and why I do not describe my method of remaining under 
water for as long a time as I can remain without food; and this I do 
not publish or divulge on account of the evil nature of men who would 
practice assassinations at the bottom of the seas, by breaking the ships 
in their lowest parts and sinking them together with the crews who 
are in them; and although I will furnish particulars of others they 
are such as are not dangerous, for above the surface of the water 


emerges the mouth o the tube by which they draw in breath, sup- 
ported upon wine-skins or pieces of cork. 1 Leic. 22, v. 

Speak with the Genoese about the sea. 2 Leic. 26 v. 

1 These lines are an excerpt from a passage to be found in full in the section on The 
Nature of Water. A similar practice has been followed in the case of one or two lines 
reproduced in the sections entitled Music, Personalia and Dated Notes. 

2 This is one of those enigmatic notes which have given rise to conjecture. It un- 
doubtedly may refer to naval preparations, which were being taken by the Genoese as 
part of Ludovic Sforza's concerted schemes of defence against the assaults with which 
he was threatened. As he knew of Leonardo's study of marine warfare he would find 
him a very suitable agent to send on such a mission. This is incontestable. But the 
feet remains that this sentence, which is all that exists to connect Leonardo with Genoa, 
is a comparatively slight foundation for the structure of hypothesis that has been raised 
upon it. 

Comparison of the Arts 

7/ you know how to describe and write down 
the appearance of the forms, the painter can 
makf them so that they appear enlivened with 
lights and shadows which create the very ex- 
pression of the faces; herein you cannot attain 
with the pen where he attains with the brush! 

How painting surpasses all human works by reason of the subtle 
possibilities which it contains: 

The eye, which is called the window of the soul, is the chief means 
whereby the understanding may most fully and abundantly appreciate 
the infinite works of nature; and the ear is the second, inasmuch as it 
acquires its importance from the fact that it hears the things which the 
eye has seen. If you historians, or poets, or mathematicians had never 
seen things with your eyes you would be ill able to describe them in 
your writings. And if you, O poet, represent a story by depicting it 
with your pen, the painter with his brush will so render it as to be 
more easily satisfying and less tedious to understand. If you call paint- 
ing 'dumb poetry', then the painter may say of the poet that his art is 
*blind painting'. Consider then which is the more grievous affliction, to 
be blind or to be dumb! Although the poet has as wide a choice of sub- 
jects as the painter, his creations fail to afford as much satisfaction to 
mankind as do paintings, for while poetry attempts to represent forms, 
actions and scenes with words, the painter employs the exact images of 
these forms in order to reproduce them. Consider, then, which is more 
fundamental to man, the nme of man or his image? The name 
changes with change of country; the form is unchanged except by 

And if the poet serves the understanding by way of the ear, the 
painter does so by the eye, which is the nobler sense. 



I will only cite as an instance of this how if a good painter represents 
the fury of a battle and a poet also describes one, and the two descrip- 
tions are shown together to the public, you will soon see which will 
draw most of the spectators, and where there will be most discussion, to 
which most praise will be given and which will satisfy the more. There 
is no doubt that the painting, which is by far the more useful and 
beautiful, will give the greater pleasure. Inscribe in any place the name 
of God and set opposite to it His image, you will see which will be held 
in greater reverence! 

Since painting embraces within itself all the forms of nature, you 
have omitted nothing except the names, and these are not universal 
like the forms. If you have the results of her processes we have the 
processes of her results. 

Take the case of a poet describing the beauties of a lady to her lover 
and that of a painter who makes a portrait of her; you will see whither 
nature will the more incline the enamoured judge. Surely the proof of 
the matter ought to rest upon the verdict of experience! 

You have set painting among the mechanical arts! Truly were 
painters as ready equipped as you are to praise their own works in 
writing, I doubt whether it would endure the reproach of so vile a 
name. If you call it mechanical because it is by manual work that the 
hands represent what the imagination creates, your writers are setting 
down with the pen by manual work what originates in the mind. If 
you call it mechanical because it is done for money, who fall into this 
error if indeed it can be called an error more than you yourselves? 
If you lecture for the Schools do you not go to whoever pays you the 
most? Do you do any work without some reward? 

And yet I do not say this in order to censure such opinions, for every 
labour looks for its reward. And if the poet should say, 1 will create a 
fiction which shall express great things', so likewise will the painter 
also, for even so Apelles made the Calumny. If you should say that 
poetry is the more enduring, to this I would reply that the works of 
a coppersmith are more enduring still, since time preserves them 
longer than either your works or ours; nevertheless they show but 
little imagination; and painting, if it be done upon copper in enamel 
colours, can be made far more enduring. 

In Art we may be said to be grandsons unto God. If poetry treats 


of moral philosophy, painting has to do with natural philosophy; if 
the one describes the workings of the mind, the other considers what 
the mind effects by movements of the body; if the one dismays folk 
by hellish fictions, the other does the like by showing the same things 
in action. Suppose the poet sets himself to represent some image of 
beauty or terror, something vile and foul, or some monstrous thing, in 
contest with the painter, and suppose in his own way he makes a 
change of forms at his pleasure, will not the painter still satisfy the 
more? Have we not seen pictures which bear so close a resemblance to 
the actual thing that they have deceived both men and beasts? 

If you know how to describe and write down the appearance of the 
forms, the painter can make them so that they appear enlivened with 
lights and shadows which create the very expression of the faces; 
herein you cannot attain with the pen where he attains with the 
brush. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 19 r. and v., 20 r. 

How he who despises painting has no love for the philosophy in 
nature : 

If you despise painting, which is the sole imitator of all the visible 
works of nature, it is certain that you will be despising a subtle inven- 
tion which with philosophical and ingenious speculation takes as its 
theme all the various kinds of forms, airs and scenes, plants, animals, 
grasses and flowers, which are surrounded by light and shade. And 
this truly is a science and the true-born daughter of nature, since paint- 
ing is the offspring of nature. But in order to speak more correctly we 
may call it the grandchild of nature; for all visible things derive their 
existence from nature, and from these same things is born painting. 
So therefore we may jusdy speak of it as the grandchild of nature and 
as related to God himself. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 20 r. 

That sculpture is less intellectual than painting, and lacks many of 
its natural parts: 

As practising myself the art of sculpture no less than that of paint- 
ing, and doing both the one and the other in the same degree, it seems 
to me that without suspicion of unfairness I may venture to give an 
opinion as to which of the two is the more intellectual, and of the 
greater difficulty and perfection. 

In the first place, sculpture is dependent on certain lights, namely 


those from above, while a picture carries everywhere with it its own 
light and shade; light and shade therefore are essential to sculpture. 
In this respect, the sculptor is aided by the nature of the relief, which 
produces these of its own accord, but the painter artificially creates 
them by his art in places where nature would normally do the like. 
The sculptor cannot render the difference in the varying natures of 
the colours of objects; painting does not fail to do so in any particular. 
The lines of perspective of sculptors do not seem in any way true; 
those of painters may appear to extend a hundred miles beyond the 
work itself. The effects of aerial perspective are outside the scope of 
sculptors' work; they can neither represent transparent bodies nor 
luminous bodies nor angles of reflection nor shining bodies such as 
mirrors and like things of glittering surface, nor mists, nor dull 
weather, nor an infinite number of things which I forbear to mention 
lest they should prove wearisome. 

The one advantage which sculpture has is that of offering greater 
resistance to time; yet painting offers a like resistance if it is done upon 
thick copper covered with white enamel and then painted upon with 
enamel colours and placed in a fire and fused. In degree of permanence 
it then surpasses even sculpture. 

It may be urged that if a mistake is made it is not easy to set it 
right, but it is a poor line of argument to attempt to prove that the 
fact of a mistake being irremediable makes the work more noble. I 
should say indeed that it is more difficult to correct the mind of the 
master who makes such mistakes than the work which he has spoiled. 

We know very well that a good experienced painter will not make 
such mistakes; on the contrary, following sound rules he will proceed 
by removing so little at a time that his work will progress well. The 
sculptor also if he is working in clay or wax can either take away from 
it or add to it, and when the model is completed it is easy to cast it in 
bronze; and this is the last process and it is the most enduring form 
of sculpture, since that which is only in marble is liable to be destroyed, 
but not when done in bronze. 

But painting done upon copper, which by the methods in use in 
painting may be either taken from or altered, is like the bronze, for 
when you have first made the model for this in wax it can still be 
either reduced or altered. While the sculpture in bronze is imperish- 


able this painting upon copper and enamelling is absolutely eternal; 
and while bronze remains dark and rough, this is full o an infinite 
variety of varied and lovely colours, of which I have already made 
mention. But if you would have me speak only of panel painting I am 
content to give an opinion between it and sculpture by saying that 
painting is more beautiful, more imaginative, and richer in resource, 
while sculpture is more enduring, but excels in nothing else. 

Sculpture reveals what it is with little effort; painting seems a thing 
miraculous, making things intangible appear tangible, presenting in 
relief things which are flat, in distance things near at hand. 

In fact, painting is adorned with infinite possibilities of which 
sculpture can make no use. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 25 v. and 24 v. 

One of the chief proofs of skill of the painter is that his picture 
should seem in relief, and this is not the case with the sculptor, for in 
this respect he is aided by nature. C.A. 305 r. a 

[Of poetry and painting] 

When the poet ceases to represent in words what exists in nature, he 
then ceases to be the equal of the painter; for if the poet, leaving such 
representation, were to describe the polished and persuasive words of 
one whom he wishes to represent as speaking, he would be becoming 
an orator and be no more a poet or a painter. And if he were to de- 
scribe the heavens he makes himself an astrologer, and a philosopher 
or theologian when speaking of the things of nature or of God. But if 
he returns to the representation of some definite thing he would be- 
come the equal of the painter if he could satisfy the eye with words as 
the painter does with brush and colour, [for with these he creates] 
a harmony to the eye, even as music does in an instant to the ear. 

Quaderni in 7 r. 
[Painting and sculpture] 

Why the picture seen with two eyes will not be an example of such 
relief as the relief seen with two eyes; this is because the picture seen 
with one eye will place itself in relief like the actual relief, having 
the same qualities of light and shade. Quaderni m 8 r. 

Precepts of the Painter 

'Painting is concerned with all the ten attributes 
of sight, namely darkness, brightness, substance 
and colour, form and place, remoteness and 
nearness, movement and rest; and it is with 
these attributes that this my small booJ^ will be 

WHICH is the more difficult: light and shade or good design? 

I maintain that a thing which is confined by a boundary is more 
difficult than one which is free. Shadows have their boundaries at cer- 
tain stages, and when one is ignorant of this his works will be lacking 
in that relief which is the importance and the soul of painting. Design 
is free, in so much as if you see an infinite number of faces they will be 
all different, one with a long nose and one with a short; the painter 
therefore must also assume this liberty, and where there is liberty 
there is no rule. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. i r. 


The mind of the painter should be like a mirror which always takes 
the colour of the thing that it reflects, and which is filled by as many 
images as there are things placed before it. Knowing therefore that you 
cannot be a good master unless you have a universal power of repre- 
senting by your art all the varieties of the forms which nature pro- 
duces, which indeed you will not know how to do unless you see 
them and retain them in your mind, look to it, O Painter, that when 
you go into the fields you give your attention to the various objects, 
and look carefully in turn first at one thing and then at another, mak- 
ing a bundle of different things selected and chosen from among 
those of less value. And do not after the manner of some painters who 
when tired by imaginative work, lay aside their task and take exercise 



by walking, in order to find relaxation, keeping, however, such weari- 
ness of mind as prevents them either seeing or being conscious of 
different objects; so that often when meeting friends or relatives, and 
being saluted by them, although they may see and hear them they 
know them no more than if they had met only so much air. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 2 r. 

The various contrasts of the different degrees of shadows and lights 
often cause hesitation and confusion to the painter who aspires to imi- 
tate and reproduce the things that he sees. The reason is that if you 
see a white cloth side by side with a black one, it is certain that the 
part of this white cloth which is next to the black will seem whiter by 
far than the part that is next to something whiter than itself, and the 
reason of this is proved in my Perspective. 


That part of the fold which is farthest from the ends where it is con- 
fined will return most closely to its original form. Everything naturally 
desires to remain in its own state. Drapery being of uniform density 
and thickness on the reverse and on the right side, desires to lie flat; 
consequently, whenever any folds or pleats force it to depart from this 
condition of flatness, it obeys the law of this force in that part of itself 
\vhere it is most constrained, and the part farthest away from such 
constraint you will find return most nearly to its original state, that is 
to say, lying extended and full, MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 4 r. 

The body of the atmosphere is full of an infinite number of the 
pyramids composed of radiating straight lines which are caused by the 
boundaries of the surfaces of the bodies in shadow that are found there, 
and the farther they are away from the object which produces them 
the more their angle becomes acute. And although they intersect and 
interlace in their passage, nevertheless they do not become confused 
with each other but proceed with divergent course, spreading them- 
selves out and becoming diffused through all the surrounding air. 

And they are of equal power among themselves, all equal to each, 
and each equal to all, and by means of them are transmitted the 
images of the objects* and these are transmitted all in all, and all in 


each part; and each pyramid receives o itself in each o its smallest- 
parts the whole form of the object which produces it. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 6 v. 


Let the sketches for historical subjects be rapid, and the working of 
the limbs not too much finished. Content yourself with merely giving 
the positions of these limbs, which you will then be able at your leisure 
to finish as you please. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 8 v. 

Among shadows of equal strength that which is nearest to the eye 
will seem of less density. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 9 v. 

All colours in distant shadows are indistinguishable and undis- 

In the distance all colours are indistinguishable in shadows, because 
an object which is not touched by the principal light has no power to 
transmit its image through the more luminous atmosphere to the eye, 
because the lesser light is conquered by the greater. 

For example, we see in a house that all the colours on the surface of 
the walls are visible instantly and clearly when the windows of the 
house are open; but, if we go out of the house and look through the 
windows at a little distance in order to see the paintings on the walls, 
we shall see instead of them a uniform darkness. 

The painter ought first to exercise his hand by copying drawings by 
good masters; and having acquired facility in this under the advice of 
his instructor, he ought to set himself to copy good reliefs, following 
the rules given below. 


He who draws from relief ought to take his position so that the eye 
of the figure he is drawing is on a level with his own. And this should 
be done whenever a head has to be drawn from nature, because gen- 
erally figures or people whom you meet in the streets all have their 
eyes at the same level as yours, and if you make them higher or lower 
you will find that your portrait will not resemble them. 



The painter ought always to consider, as regards the wall on which 
he intends to represent a story, the height of the position where he 
intends to place his characters, so that when he makes studies from 
nature for this purpose he should have his eye as much below the thing 
that he is drawing as the said thing appears in the picture above the 
eye of the spectator: otherwise the work will be deserving of censure. 


Painters oftentimes despair of their power to imitate nature, on per- 
ceiving how their pictures are lacking in the power of relief and vivid- 
ness which objects possess when seen in a mirror, though as they allege 
they have colours that for clearness and depth far surpass the quality 
of the lights and shadows of the object seen in the mirror, arraigning 
herein not reason but their own ignorance, in that they fail to recognise 
the impossibility of a painted object appearing in such relief as to be 
comparable to the objects in the mirror, although both are on a flat sur- 
face unless they are seen by a single eye. And the reason of this is that 
when two eyes see one thing after another, as in the case of a b seeing 
nm>iK cannot entirely cover n because the base of the visual lines is so 
broad as to cause one to see the second object beyond the first. If how- 
ever you close one eye as s, the object / will cover up r, because the 
visual line starts in a single point and makes its base in the first object, 
with the consequence that the second being of equal size is never seen. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 10 r. 

Every bodily form as far as concerns the function of the eye is 
divided into three parts, namely substance, shape and colour. The 
image of its substance projects itself farther from its source than its 
colour or its shape; the colour also projects itself farther than the 
shape, but this law does not apply to luminous bodies. 

The above proposition is clearly shown and confirmed by experi- 
ence, for if you see a man near at hand you will be able to recognise 
the character of the substance of the shape and even of the colour, but, 


if he 'goes some distance away from you, you will no longer be able 
to recognise who he is because his shape will lack character, and if he 
goes still farther away you will not be able to distinguish his colour 
but he will merely seem a dark body, and farther away still he will 
seem a very small round dark body. He will appear round because 
distance diminishes the various parts so much as to leave nothing 
visible except the greater mass. The reason of this is as follows: We 
know very well that all the images of objects penetrate to the impren- 
siva 1 through a small aperture in the eye; therefore if the whole 
horizon a d enters through a similar aperture and the object b c is a 
very small part of this horizon, what part must it occupy in the minute 
representation of so great a hemisphere? And since luminous bodies 
have more power in darkness than any others it is necessary, since the 
aperture of the sight is considerably in shadow, as is the nature of all 
holes, that the images of distant objects intermingle within the great 
light of the sky, or if it should be that they remain visible they appear 
dark and black, as every small body must when seen in the limpidity 
of the air. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 12 v. 

[Images in the air\ 

All bodies together and each of itself fill the surrounding air with an 
infinite number of their images which are all in all this air, and all in 
the parts of it, bearing with them the nature of the body, the colour 
and the form of their cause. 

Perspective is the bridle and rudder of painting. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 13 r. 

Shadows which you see with difficulty, and whose boundaries you 
cannot define but which you only apprehend and reproduce in your 
work with some hesitation of judgment these you should not repre- 
sent as finished or sharply defined, for the result would be that your 
work would seem wooden. 


Reflections are caused by bodies of a bright nature and of a smooth 
and half-opaque surface, which when struck by the light drive it back 
again to the first object like the rebound of a ball. 

1 Imprensiva, see Vol. I, Optics, pp. 237-8. 



All solid bodies have their surfaces covered by various degrees of 
light and shadow. The lights are of two kinds: the one is called orig- 
inal the other derived. Original I call that which proceeds from the 
flame of the fire, or from the light of the sun, or of the atmosphere. 
Derived light is the light reflected. But, to return to the promised 
definition, I say that there is no luminous reflection on the side of the 
body which is turned towards objects in shadow such as shaded scenes, 
meadows with grasses of varying height, green or bare woods for 
these, although the part of each branch turned to the original light is 
imbued with the attributes of this light, have nevertheless so many 
shadows cast by each branch separately, and so many shadows cast by 
one branch on another, that in the whole mass there results such a 
depth of shadow that the light is as nothing; hence objects such as 
these cannot throw any reflected light upon bodies opposite to them. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 14 v. 


This custom, which is universally adopted by painters for the walls 
of chapels, is by right strongly to be censured, seeing that they repre- 
sent one composition at one level with its landscape and buildings, and 
then mount to the stage above it and make another, and so vary the 
point of sight from that of the first painting, and then make a third, 
and a fourth, in such a way that the work on the one wall shows four 
points of sight, which is extreme folly on the part of such masters. 

Now we know that the point of sight is opposite the eye of the 
spectator of the composition, and if you were to ask me how I should 
represent the life of a saint when it is divided up in several composi- 
tions on the same wall, to this I reply that you ought to set the fore- 
ground with its point of sight on a level with the eye of the spectators 
of the composition, and at this same plane make the chief episode on 
a large scale, and then by diminishing gradually the figures and build- 
ings upon the various hills and plains, you should represent all the 
incidents of the story. And on the rest of the wall up to the top you 


should make trees large as compared with the figures, or angels if 
these are appropriate to the story, or birds or clouds or similar things; 
but otherwise do not put yourself to the trouble for the whole of your 
work will be wrong. 

Figures in relief in the act of movement will in their standing 
position seem naturally to fall forward. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 16 r. 

The youth ought first to learn perspective, then the proportions of 
everything, then he should learn from the hand of a good master in 
order to accustom himself to good limbs; then from nature in order to 
confirm for himself the reasons for what he has learnt; then for a time 
he should study the works of different masters; then make it a habit 
to practise and work at his art. 

How the first picture was nothing but a line which surrounded the 
shadow of a man made by the sun upon a wall. 

How historical pictures ought not to be crowded and confused by 
many figures. 

How old men should be shown with slow listless movements, with 
the legs bent at the knees when they are standing up, with the feet 
parallel and separated one from another, the spine bent low, the head 
leaning forward, and the arms not too far apart. 

How women should be represented in modest attitudes, with legs 
close together, arms folded, and with their heads low and bending 

How old women should be represented as bold, with swift passionate 
movements like the infernal furies, and these movements should seem 
quicker in the arms and heads than in the legs. 

Little children should be represented when sitting as twisting them- 
selves about with quick movements, and in shy, timid attitudes when 
standing up. 

How one ought not to give drapery a confusion of many folds, but 
only make them where it is held by the hands or arms, and the rest 
may be suffered to fall simply where its nature draws it: and do not 
let the contour of the figure be broken by too many lines or interrupted 


How draperies should be drawn from nature: that is, if you wish to 
represent woollen cloth draw the folds from the same material, and if 
it is to be silk, or fine cloth, or homespun, or of linen or crape, show 
the different nature of the folds in each; and do not make a costume 
as many make it upon models covered with pieces of paper or thin 
leather, for you will be deceiving yourself greatly. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 17 v. 


Perspectives are of three kinds. The first has to do with the causes 
of the diminution or as it is called the diminishing perspective of 
objects as they recede from the eye. The second the manner in which 
colours are changed as they recede from the eye. The third and last 
consists in defining in what way objects ought to be less carefully 
finished as they are farther away. And the names are these: 

Linear Perspective 
Perspective of Colour 
Vanishing Perspective. 


How figures when dressed in a cloak ought not to show the shape to 
such an extent that the cloak seems to be next to the skin; for surely 
you would not wish that the cloak should be next to the skin, since you 
must realise that between the cloak and the skin are other garments 
which prevent the shape of the limbs from being visible and appearing 
through the cloak. And those limbs which you make visible, make 
thick of their kind so that there may seem to be other garments there 
under the cloak. And you should only allow the almost identical thick- 
ness of the limbs to be visible in a nymph or an angel, for these are 
represented clad in light draperies, which by the blowing of the wind 
are driven and pressed against the various limbs of the figures. 



It is evident that the part of the atmosphere which lies nearest the 
level ground is denser than the rest, and that the higher it rises the 
lighter and more transparent it becomes. 

In the case o large and lofty objects which are some distance away 
from you, their lower parts will not be much seen, because the line by 
which you should see them passes through the thickest and densest 
portion of the atmosphere. But the summits of these heights are seen 
along a line which, although when starting from your eye it is projected 
through the denser atmosphere, yet since it ends at the highest summit 
of the object seen, concludes its course in an atmosphere far more rare- 
fied than that of its base. And consequently the farther away from you 
this line extends from point to point the greater is the change in the 
finer quality of the atmosphere. 

Do you, therefore, O painter, when you represent mountains, see 
that from hill to hill the bases are always paler than the summits, and 
the farther away you make them one from another let the bases be 
paler in proportion, and the loftier they are the more they should re^ 
veal their true shape and colour. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 18 r. 

How the atmosphere should be represented as paler in proportion as 
you show it extending lower: 

Since the atmosphere is dense near the ground, and the higher it is 
the finer it becomes, therefore when the sun is in the east and you look 
towards the west, taking in a part to the north and to the south, you 
will see that this dense air receives more light from the sun than the 
finer air, because the rays encounter more resistance. And if your view 
of the horizon is bounded by a low plain, that farthest region of the 
sky will be seen through that thicker whiter atmosphere, and this will 
destroy the truth of the colour as seen through such a medium; and the 
sky will seem whiter there than it does overhead, where the line of 
vision traverses a lesser space of atmosphere charged with thick va- 
pours. But if you look towards the east the atmosphere will appear 
darker in proportion as it is lower, for in this lower atmosphere the 
luminous rays pass less freely. 


How shadows are distributed in different positions, and of the objects 
situated in them: 

I the sun is in the east and you look towards the west you will see 
that all the things which are illuminated are entirely deprived of 
shadow, because what you are looking at is what the sun sees. 

And i you look to the south and the north you will see that all the 
bodies are surrounded by light and shade, because you are looking both 
at the part that does not see and the part that sees the sun. And if you 
look towards the pathway of the sun all the objects will present their 
shaded side to you because this side cannot be seen by the sun. 


Whatever is entirely deprived of light is all darkness. When such is 
the condition of night, if you wish to represent a scene therein, you 
must arrange to introduce a great fire there, and then the things which 
are nearest to the fire will be more deeply tinged with its colour, for 
whatever is nearest to the object partakes most fully of its nature; and 
making the fire of a reddish colour you should represent all the things 
illuminated by it as being also of a ruddy hue, while those which are 
farther away from the fire should be dyed more deeply with the black 
colour of the night. The figures which are between you and the fire 
will appear dark against the brightness of the flame, for that part of the 
object which you perceive is coloured by the darkness of the night, and 
not by the brightness of the fire; those which are at the sides should be 
half in shadow and half in ruddy light; and those visible beyond the 
edge of the flames will all be lit up with ruddy light against a dark 
background. As for their actions, show those who are near it making a 
screen with hands and cloaks as a protection against the unbearable 
heat, with faces turned away as though on the point of flight; while of 
those farther away you should show a great number pressing their 
hands upon their eyes, hurt by the intolerable glare. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 18 v. 

Why of two objects of equal size the painted one will look larger 
than that in relief: 
This proposition is not so easy to expound as many others, but I will 


nevertheless attempt to prove it, if not completely then in part. Dimin- 
ishing perspective demonstrates by reason that objects diminish in 
proportion as they are farther away from the eye, and this theory is 
entirely confirmed by experience. Now the lines of sight which are be- 
tween the object and the eye are all intersected at a uniform boundary 
when they reach the surface of the painting; while the lines which pass 
from the eye to the piece of sculpture have different boundaries and 
are of varying lengths. The line which is the longest extends to a limb 
which is farther away than the rest, and consequently this limb appears 
smaller; and there are many lines longer than others, for the reason 
that there are many small parts one farther away than another, and 
being farther away these of necessity appear smaller, and by appearing 
smaller they effect a corresponding decrease in the whole mass of the 
object. But this does not happen in the painting, because as the lines 
of sight end at the same distance it follows that they do not undergo 
diminution, and as the parts are not themselves diminished they do not 
lessen the whole mass of the object, and consequently the diminution is 
not perceptible in the painting as it is in sculpture. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 19 r. 


When you are representing a white body surrounded by ample space, 
since the white has no colour in itself it is tinged and in part trans- 
formed by the colour of what is set over against it. If you are looking at 
a woman dressed in white in the midst of a landscape the side of her 
that is exposed to the sun will be so dazzling in colour that parts of it, 
like the sun itself, will cause pain to the sight, and as for the side ex- 
posed to the atmosphere which is luminous because of the rays of the 
sun being interwoven with it and penetrating it since this atmosphere 
is itself blue, the side of the woman which is exposed to it will appear 
steeped in blue. If the surface of the ground near to her be meadows, 
and the woman be placed between a meadow lit by the sun and the sun 
itself, you will find that all the parts of the folds [of her dress] which 
are turned towards the meadow will be dyed by the reflected rays to the 
colour of the meadow; and thus she becomes changed into the colours 
of the objects near, both those luminous and those non-luminous. 



Make muscular such limbs as have to endure fatigue, and those 
which are not so used make without muscles and soft. 


Make figures with such action as may be sufficient to show what the 
figure has in mind; otherwise your art will not be worthy of praise. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 20 r. 



If you have a courtyard which, when you so please, you can cover 
over with a linen awning, the light will then be excellent. Or when you 
wish to paint a portrait, paint it in bad weather, at the fall of the eve- 
ning, placing the sitter with his back to one of the walls of the court- 
yard. Notice in the streets at the fall of the evening when it is bad 
weather the faces of the men and women what grace and softness 
they display! Therefore, O painter, you should have a courtyard fitted 
up with the walls tinted in black and with the roof projecting forward 
a little beyond the wall; and the width of it should be ten braccia, and 
the length twenty braccia, and the height ten braccia; and you should 
cover it over with the awning when the sun is on it, or else you should 
make your portrait at the hour of the fall of the evening when it is 
cloudy or misty, for the light then is perfect. 


We see clearly that all the images of the visible things both large and 
small which serve us as objects enter to the sense through the tiny pu- 
pil of the eye. If, then, through so small an entrance there passes the 
image of the immensity of the sky and of the earth, the face of man 
being almost nothing amid such vast images of things, because of the 
distance which diminishes it occupies so little of the pupil as to re- 
main indistinguishable; and having to pass from the outer surface to 


the seat of the sense through a dark medium, that is, through the hol- 
low cells which appear dark, this image when not of a strong colour 
is affected by the darkness through which it passes, and on reaching the 
seat of the sense it appears dark. No other reason can be advanced to 
account for the blackness of this point in the pupil; and since it is filled 
with a moisture transparent like the air, it acts like a hole made in a 
board; and when looked into it appears black, and the objects seen in 
the air, whether light or dark, become indistinct in the darkness. 


Shadows become lost in the far distance, because the vast expanse of 
luminous atmosphere which lies between the eye and the object seen 
suffuses the shadows of the object with its own colour. 


Diminishing perspective shows us that in proportion as an object is 
farther away the smaller it becomes. And if you look at a man who is 
at the distance of a bowshot away from you and put the eye of a small 
needle close to your eye, you will be able through this to see the images 
of many men transmitted to the eye, and these will all be contained at 
one and the same time within the eye of the said needle. If then the 
image of a man who is distant from you the space of a bowshot is so 
transmitted to your eye as to occupy only a small part of the eye of a 
needle, how should you be able in so small a figure to distinguish or 
discern the nose or mouth or any detail of the body? 

And not seeing these you cannot recognise the man, since he does not 
show you the features which cause men to differ in appearance. 


The pit of the throat is above the foot. If an arm be thrown forward 
the pit of the throat moves from above the foot, and if the leg is thrown 
backwards the pit of the throat moves forwards, and so it changes 
with every change of attitude. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 20 v. 



If you wish to represent a tempest properly, consider and set down 
exactly what are the results when the wind blowing over the face of the 
sea and of the land lifts and carries with it everything that is not im- 
movable in the general mass. And in order properly to represent this 
tempest, you must first of all show the clouds, riven and torn, swept 
along in the path of the wind, together with storms of sand blown up 
from the sea shores, and branches and leaves caught up by the irresisti- 
ble fury of the gale and scattered through the air, and with them many 
other things of light weight. The trees and shrubs should be bent to 
the ground, as though showing their desire to follow the direction of 
the wind, with their branches twisted out of their natural growth and 
their leaves tossed and inverted. Of the men who are there, some 
should have fallen and be lying wrapped round by their garments and 
almost indistinguishable on account of the dust, and those who are left 
standing should be behind some tree with their arms thrown round it 
to prevent the wind from dragging them away; others should be shown 
crouching on the ground, their hands over their eyes because of the 
dust, their garments and hair streaming in the wind. Let the sea be 
wild and tempestuous, and between the crests of its waves it should be 
covered with eddying foam, and the wind should carry the finer spray 
through the stormy air after the manner of a thick and all-enveloping 

Of the ships that are there, some you should show with sail rent and 
the shreds of it flapping in the air in company with the broken hal- 
yards, and some of the masts broken and gone by the board, and the 
vessel itself lying disabled and broken by the fury of the waves, with 
some of the crew shrieking and clinging to the fragments of the wreck. 
You should show the clouds, driven by the impetuous winds, hurled 
against the high mountain tops, and there wreathing and eddying like 
waves that beat upon the rocks; the very air should strike terror 
through the murky darkness occasioned therein by the dust and mist 
and thick clouds. 



When you desire to represent anyone speaking among a group of 
persons you ought to consider first the subject of which he has to treat, 
and how so to order his actions that they may be in keeping with this 
subject. That is, if the subject be persuasive, the actions should serve 
this intention; if it be one that needs to be expounded under various 
heads, the speaker should take a finger of his left hand between two 
fingers of his right, keeping the two smaller ones closed, 1 and let his 
face be animated and turned towards the people, with mouth slightly 
opened, so as to give the effect of speaking. And if he is seated let him 
seem to be in the act of raising himself more upright, with his head for- 
ward. And if you represent him standing, make him leaning forward a 
little with head and shoulders towards the populace, whom you should 
show silent and attentive, and all watching the face of the orator with 
gestures of admiration. Show the mouths of some of the old men with 
the corners pulled down in astonishment at what they hear, drawing 
back the cheeks in many furrows, with their eyebrows raised where 
they meet, making many wrinkles on their foreheads; and show some 
sitting with the fingers of their hands locked together and clasping 
their weary knees, and others decrepit old men with one knee crossed 
over the other, and one hand resting upon it which serves as a cup for 
the other elbow, while the other hand supports the bearded chin. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 21 r. 

How to heighten the apparent relief in a painting by the use of arti- 
ficial lights and shadows: 

In order to increase the relief in a picture you should make it your 
practice to place between the figure represented and that adjacent object 
which receives its shadow, a line of bright light in order to divide the 
figure from the object in shadow. And in this same object you will 
make two bright parts which shall have between them the shadow 
cast upon the wall by the figure placed opposite: and do this frequently 
with the limbs which you desire should stand out somewhat from 

X MS. has serate. M. Ravaisson-Mollien gives scaratc, and translates as though it 
were 'separate'. 


their body; and especially when the arms cross the breast, show how 
between the line of incidence of the shadow of the arm upon the breast 
and the real shadow of the arm, there remains a streak of light which 
seems to pass through the space that is between the breast and the arm. 
And the more you wish the arm to seem detached from the breast the 
broader you must make this light. And always make it your aim so to 
arrange bodies against their backgrounds that the parts of the bodies 
that are in shadow end against a light background, and the part of the 
body that is illuminated ends against a dark background. 



Take care that the shadows cast upon the surfaces of bodies by differ- 
ent objects are always undulating with varying curves produced by the 
variety of the limbs that create the shadows and of the object that re- 
ceives the shadow. 


Shadow.partakes of the nature of universal things which are all more 
powerful at their beginning and grow weaker towards the end. I 
refer to the beginning of all forms and qualities visible or invisible, 
and not of things brought from small beginnings to a mighty growth 
by time, as a great oak would be which has its feeble beginning in a 
tiny acorn; though I would rather say the oak is most powerful at the 
spot where it is born in the ground, for there is the place of its great- 
est growth. Darkness, therefore, is the first stage of shadow and light 
is the last. See, therefore, O painter, that you make your shadow dark- 
est near to its cause and make the end of it become changed into light 
so that it seems to have no end. 

How the shadows cast by particular lights should be avoided because 
their ends are like their beginnings: 

The shadows cast by the sun or other particular lights do not impart 
grace to the body to which they belong, but rather leave the parts sep- 
arated in a state of confusion with a visible boundary of shadow and 


light. And the shadows have the same strength at the end that they 
had at the beginning. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 21 v. 


Shadow is the absence o light; it is simply the obstruction caused by 
opaque bodies opposed to luminous rays. Shadow is of the nature of 
darkness, light is of the nature of brightness. The one hides and the 
other reveals. They are always in company attached to the bodies. And 
shadow is more powerful than light for it impedes and altogether de- 
prives objects of brightness, whereas brightness can never altogether 
drive away shadow from bodies, that is from opaque bodies. 

What difference there is between a shadow inseparable from a body 
and a cast shadow: 

An inseparable shadow is one which is never parted from the illumi- 
nated bodies, as is the case with a ball, for when it is in the light it 
always has one of its sides covered by shadow and this shadow never 
separates from it through any change in the position of the ball. A cast 
shadow may or may not be produced by the body itself. Let us suppose 
the ball to be at a distance of a braccio from the wall and the light to 
be coming from the opposite side: this light will throw just as broad a 
shadow upon the wall as upon the side of the ball that faces the wall. 
Part of a cast shadow will not be visible when the light is below the 
ball, for its shadow will then pass towards the sky and finding there no 
obstruction in its course will become lost. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 22 r. 


I will not refrain from setting among these precepts a new device for 
consideration which, although it may appear trivial and almost ludi- 
crous, is nevertheless of great utility in arousing the mind to various 

And this is that if you look at any walls spotted with various stains 
or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to in- 
vent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various 


different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, 
wide valleys and various groups of hills. You will also be able to see 
divers combats and figures in quick movement, and strange expressions 
of faces, and outlandish costumes, and an infinite number of things 
which you can then reduce into separate and well-conceived forms. 
With such walls and blends of different stones it comes about as it does 
with the sound of bells, in whose clanging you may discover every 
name and word that you can imagine. 


Painting is concerned with all the ten attributes of sight, namely 
darkness and brightness, substance and colour, form and place, remote- 
ness and nearness, movement and rest; and it is with these attributes 
that this my small book will be interwoven, recalling to the painter by 
what rules and in what way he ought by his art to imitate all things 
that are the work of nature and the adornment of the world. 


As a means of practising this perspective of the variation and loss or 
diminution of the proper essence of colours, take, at distances a hun- 
dred braccia apart, objects standing in the landscape, such as trees, 
houses, men and places, and in front of the first tree fix a piece of glass 
so that it is quite steady, and then let your eye rest upon it and trace out 
a tree upon the glass above the outline of the tree; and afterwards re- 
move the glass so far to one side that the actual tree seems almost to 
touch the one that you have drawn. Then colour your drawing in such 
a way that the two are alike in colour and form, and that if you close 
one eye both seem painted on the glass and the same distance away. 
Then proceed in the same way with a second and a third tree at dis- 
tances of a hundred braccia from each other. And these will always 
serve as your standards and teachers when you are at work on pictures 
where they can be applied, and they will cause the work to be success- 
ful in its distance. 


But I find it is a rule that the second is reduced to four-fifths the 
size of the first when it is twenty braccia distant from it. 


Whenever you make a figure of a man or o some graceful animal 
remember to avoid making it seem wooden; that is it should move 
with counterpoise and balance in such a way as not to seem a block of 

Those whom you wish to represent as strong should not be shown 
thus except in their manner of turning their heads upon their shoul- 
ders. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 22 v. 


Linear perspective has to do with the function of the lines of sight, 
proving by measurement how much smaller is the second object than 
the first and the third than the second, and so on continually until the 
limit of things seen. I find by experience that if the second object is as 
far distant from the first as the first is from your eye, although as be- 
tween themselves they may be of equal size, the second will seem half 
as small again as the first; and if the third object is equal in size to 
the second, and it is as far beyond the second as the second is from the 
first, 1 it will appear half the size of the second; and thus by successive 
degrees at equal distances the objects will be continually lessened by 
half, the second being half the first provided that the intervening 
space does not amount to as much as twenty braccia; for at the distance 
of twenty braccia a figure resembling yours will lose four-fifths of its 
size, and at a distance of forty braccia it will lose nine-tenths, and nine- 
teen-twentieths at sixty braccia, and so by degrees it will continue to 
diminish, when the plane of the picture is twice your own height away 
from you, for if the distance only equals your own height there is a 
great difference between the first set of braccia and the second. 

1 MS. has third'. 



You should make the figure in the foreground in an historical com- 
position proportionately less than life size according to the number of 
braccia that you place it behind the front line, and then make the others 
in proportion to the first by the rule above. 

I give the degrees of the things seen by the eye as the musician does 
of the sounds heard by the ear: 

Although the things seen by the eye seem to touch as they recede I 
will nevertheless found my rule on spaces of twenty braccia, as the 
musician has done with sounds, for although they are united and con- 
nected together he has nevertheless fixed the degrees from sound to 
sound, calling these first, second, third, fourth and fifth, and so from 
degree to degree he has given names to the varieties of the sound of the 
voice, as it becomes higher or lower. 

A method of making the shadow on figures correspond to their light 
and their shape: 

When you make a figure and wish to see whether the shadow cor- 
responds to the light, and is neither redder nor yellower than is the 
nature of the essence of the colour which you wish to show in shadow, 
you should do as follows: with a finger make a shadow upon the illu- 
minated part, and if the accidental shadow made by you is like the 
natural shadow made by your finger upon your work, it will be well 
then by moving the finger nearer or farther off, to make the shadows 
darker or lighter, comparing them constantly with your own. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 23 r, 


All those objects opposite to the eye which are too near to it will have 
their edges difficult to discern, as happens when objects are near to the 
light and cast a large and indistinct shadow, even so this does when 
it has to judge of objects outside it: in all cases of linear perspective its 
action is similar to that of light. The reason of this is that the eye has 


one principal line [o vision] which dilates as it acquires distance, and 
embraces with exactness of perception large things far away as it does 
small things close at hand. The eye however sends out a multitude of 
lines on either side of this principal centre-line, and these have less 
power to discern correctly as they are farther from the centre in this 
radiation. It follows therefore when an object is placed close to the eye 
that at that stage of nearness to the principal line of vision this is not 
capable of distinguishing the edges of the object, and so these edges 
must needs find themselves amid the lines that have but a poor power 
of comprehension. Their part in the functions of the eye is like that of 
setters at the chase, who start the prey but cannot catch it. So while 
they cannot themselves apprehend them they are a reason why the 
principal line of vision is diverted to the objects touched by these lines. 
It follows therefore that the objects which have their edges judged 
by these lines are indistinct. MS. 2038 23 v. 


When you wish to know anything well by heart which you have 
studied follow this method: When you have drawn the same thing so 
many times that it seems that you know it by heart try to do it without 
the model; but have a tracing made of the model upon a thin piece of 
smooth glass and lay this upon the drawing you have made without 
the model. Note well where the tracing and your drawing do not tally, 
and where you find that you have erred bear it in mind in order not to 
make the mistake again. Even return to the model in order to copy the 
part where you were wrong so many times as to fix it in your mind; 
and if you cannot procure smooth glass to make a tracing of the ob- 
ject take a piece of very fine parchment well oiled and then dried, and 
when you have used it for one drawing you can wipe this out with a 
sponge and do a second. 


Take a piece of glass of the size of a half sheet of royal folio paper, 
and fix it well in front of your eyes, that is between your eye and the 
object that you wish to portray. Then move away until your eye is two- 


thirds of a braccio away from the piece of glass, and fasten your head 
by means of an instrument in such a way as to prevent any movement 
of it whatsoever. Then close or cover up one eye, and with a brush or 
a piece of red chalk finely ground mark out on the glass what is visible 
beyond it; afterwards copy it by tracing on paper from the glass, then 
prick it out upon paper of a better quality and paint it if you so desire, 
paying careful attention to the aerial perspective. 


If you wish thoroughly to accustom yourself to correct and good 
positions for your figures, fasten a frame or loom divided into squares 
by threads between your eye and the nude figure which you are repre- 
senting, and then make the same squares upon the paper where you 
wish to draw the said nude but very faintly. You should then place a 
pellet of wax on a part of the network to serve as a mark which as you 
look at your model should always cover the pit of the throat, or if he 
should have turned his back make it cover one of the vertebrae of the 
neck. And these threads will instruct you as to all the parts of the 
body which in each attitude are found below the pit of the throat, be- 
low the angles of the shoulders, below the breasts, the hips and the 
other parts of the body; and the transverse lines of the network will 
show you how much higher the figure is above the leg on which it is 
posed than above the other, and the same with the hips, the knees and 
the feet. But always fix the net by a perpendicular line and then see 
that all the divisions that you see the nude take in the network, the 
nude that you draw takes in the network of your sketch. The squares 
you draw may be as much smaller than those of the network in pro- 
portion as you wish your figure to be less than life size: then keep in 
mind in the figures that you make, the rule of the corresponding 
proportions of the limbs as the network has revealed it to you, and this 
should be three and a half braccia in height and three wide, at a dis- 
tance of seven braccia from you and one from the nude figure. 

MS, 2038 Bib. Nat. 24 r. 



When you wish to see whether the general effect o your picture 
corresponds with that of the object represented after nature, take a 
mirror and set it so that it reflects the actual thing, and then compare 
the reflection with your picture, and consider carefully whether the sub- 
ject of the two images is in conformity with both, studying especially 
the mirror. The mirror ought to be taken as a guide that is, the flat 
mirror for within its surface substances have many points of resem- 
blance to a picture; namely, that you see the picture made upon one 
plane showing things which appear in relief, and the mirror upon one 
plane does the same. The picture is one single surface, and the mirror 
is the same. 

The picture is intangible, inasmuch as what appears round and de- 
tached cannot be enclosed within the hands, and the mirror is the 
same. The mirror and the picture present 'the images of things sur- 
rounded by shadow and light, and each alike seems to project con* 
siderably from the plane of its surface. And since you know that the 
mirror presents detached things to you by means of outlines and 
shadows and lights, and since you have moreover amongst your colours 
more powerful shadows and lights than those of the mirror, it is certain 
that if you but know well how to compose your picture it will also 
seem a natural thing seen in a great mirror. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 24 v. 

Of the poor excuse made by those who falsely and unworthily get 
themselves styled painters: 

There is a certain class of painters who though they have given but 
little attention to study claim to live in all the beauty of gold and azure. 
These aver such is their folly! that they are not able to work up to 
their best standard because of the poor payment, but that they have 
the knowledge and could do as well as any other if they were well 

But see now the foolish folk! They have not the sense to keep by 
them some specimen of their good work so that they may say, 'this is 
at a high price, and that is at a moderate price and that is quite cheap*, 
and so show that they have work at all prices. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat* 25 r. 



There is another kind of perspective which I call aerial, because by 
the difference in the atmosphere one is able to distinguish the various 
distances of different buildings when their bases appear to end on a 
single line, for this would be the appearance presented by a group of 
buildings on the far side of a wall, all of which as seen above the top 
of the wall look to be the same size; and if in painting you wish to 
make one seem farther away than another you must make the at- 
mosphere somewhat heavy. You know that in an atmosphere of uni- 
form density the most distant things seen through it, such as the 
mountains, in consequence of the great quantity of atmosphere which 
is between your eye and them, will appear blue, almost of the same 
colour as the atmosphere when the sun is in the east. Therefore you 
should make the building which is nearest above the wall of its natural 
colour, and that which is more distant make less defined and bluer; 
and one which you wish should seem as far away again make of 
double the depth of blue, and one you desire should seem five times 
as far away make five times as blue. And as a consequence of this rule 
it will come about that the buildings which above a given line appear 
to be of the same size will be plainly distinguished as to which are the 
more distant and which larger than the others. 


We may frankly admit that certain people deceive themselves who 
apply the title c a good master 9 to a painter who can only do the head or 
the figure well. Surely it is no great achievement if by studying one 
thing only during his whole lifetime he attain to some degree of ex- 
cellence therein! But since, as we know, painting embraces and con- 
tains within itself all the things which nature produces or which result 
from the fortuitous actions of men, and in short whatever can be com- 
prehended by the eyes, it would seem to me that he is but a poor 
master who makes only a single figure well. 

For do you not see how many and how varied are the actions which 
are performed by men alone? Do you not see how many different 


Ainds of animals there are, and also o trees and plants and flowers? 
What variety of hilly and level places, of springs, rivers, cities, public 
and private buildings; of instruments fitted for man's use; of divers 
costumes, ornaments and arts? Things which should be rendered 
with equal facility and grace by whoever you wish to call a good 


Which is better to draw from nature or from the antique? 
And which is more difficult the lines or the light and shade ? 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 25 v. 


I have proved in my own case that it is of no small benefit on find- 
ing oneself in bed in the dark to go over again in the imagination the 
main outlines of the forms previously studied, or of other noteworthy 
things conceived by ingenious speculation; and this exercise is entirely 
to be commended, and it is useful in fixing things in the memory. 

How the painter ought to be desirous of hearing every man's 
opinion as to the progress of his work: 

Surely when a man is painting a picture he ought not to refuse to 
hear any man's opinion, for we know very well that though a man 
may not be a painter he may have a true conception of the form of 
another man, and can judge aright whether he is hump-backed or has 
one shoulder high or low, or whether he has a large mouth or nose 
or other defects. 

Since then we recognise that men are able to form a true judgment 
as to the works of nature, how much the more does it behove us to 
admit that they are able to judge our faults. For you know how much 
a man is deceived in his own works, and if you do not recognise this 
in your own case observe it in others and then you will profit by their 
mistakes. Therefore you should be desirous of hearing patiently the 
opinions of others, and consider and reflect carefully whether or no he 
who censures you has reason for his censure; and correct your work 


if you find that he is right, but if not, then let it seem that you have 
not understood him, or, in case he is a man whom you esteem, show 
him by argument why it is that he is mistaken. 

How in works of importance a man should not trust so entirely to 
his memory as to disdain to draw from nature: 

Any master who let it be understood that he could himself recall all 
the forms and effects of nature would certainly appear to me to be 
endowed with great ignorance, considering that these effects are in- 
finite and that our memory is not of so great capacity as to suffice 

Do you therefore, O painter, take care lest the greed for gain prove 
a stronger incentive than renown in art, for to gain this renown is a 
far greater thing than is the renown of riches. 

For these, then, and other reasons which might be given, you should 
apply yourself first of all to drawing, in order to present to the eye in 
visible form the purpose and invention created originally in your 
imagination; then proceed to take from it or add to it until you satisfy 
yourself; then have men arranged as models draped or nude in the way 
in which you have disposed them in your work; and make the pro- 
portions and size in accordance with perspective, so that no part of the 
work remains that is not so counselled by reason and by the effects in 

And this will be the way to make yourself renowned in your art. 

An object which is represented in white and black will appear in 
more pronounced relief than any other: and therefore I would remind 
you, O painter, that you should clothe your figures in as bright colours 
as you can, for if you make them dark in colour they will be only in 
slight relief and be very little visible at a distance. This is because the 
shadows of all objects are dark, and if you make a garment dark there 
will be only a slight difference between its lights and shades, whereas 
with the bright colours there are many grades of difference. 

MS* 2038 Bib. Nat. 26 r. 


If you desire to acquire facility in keeping in your mind the ex- 
pression of a face, first learn by heart the various different kinds of 


heads, eyes, noses, mouths, chins, throats, and also necks and shoulders. 
Take as an instance noses: they are of ten types: straight, bulbous, 
hollow, prominent either above or below the centre, aquiline, regular, 
simian, round, and pointed. These divisions hold good as regards pro- 
file. Seen from in front, noses are of twelve types: thick in the middle, 
thin in the middle, with the tip broad, and narrow at the base, and 
narrow at the tip, and broad at the base, with nostrils broad or nar- 
row, or high or low, and with the openings either visible or hidden by 
the tip. And similarly you will find variety in the other features; of 
which things you ought to make studies from nature and so fix them 
in your mind. Or when you have to draw a face from memory, carry 
with you a small notebook in which you have noted down such fea- 
tures, and then when you have cast a glance at the face of the person 
whom you wish to draw you can look privately and see which nose or 
mouth has a resemblance to it, and make a tiny mark against it in 
order to recognise it again at home. Of abnormal faces I here say 
nothing, for they are kept in mind without difficulty. 



When you, draughtsmen, wish to find some profitable recreation in 
games you should always practise things which may be of use in your 
profession, that is by giving your eye accuracy of judgment so that it 
may know how to estimate the truth as to the length and breadth of 
objects. So in order to accustom the mind to such things let one of you 
draw a straight line anywhere on a wall; and then let each of you take 
a light rush or straw in his hand, and let each cut his own to the length 
which the first line appears to him when he is distant from it a space 
of ten braccia, and then let each go up to the copy in order to measure 
it against the length which he has fudged it to be, and he whose 
measure comes nearest to the length of the copy has done best and is 
the winner, and he should receive from all the prize which was pre- 
viously agreed upon by you. Furthermore you should take measure- 
ments fore-shortened, that is, you should take a spear or some other 
stick and look before you to a certain point of distance, and then let 
each set himself to reckon how many times this measure is contained 


in the said distance. Another thing is to see who can draw the best 
line one braccio in length, and this may be tested by tightly drawn 

Diversions such as these enable the eye to acquire accuracy of judg- 
ment, and this is the primary essential o painting. 


I say and am prepared to prove that it is much better to be in the 
company of others when you draw rather than alone, for many reasons. 
The first is that you will be ashamed of being seen in the ranks of the 
draughtsmen if you are outclassed by them, and this feeling of shame 
will cause you to make progress in study; secondly a rather commend- 
able envy will stimulate you to join the number of those who are more 
praised than you are, for the praises of the others will serve you as a 
spur; yet another is that you will acquire something of the manner of 
anyone whose work is better than yours, while if you are better than 
the others you will profit by seeing how to avoid their errors, and the 
praises of others will tend to increase your powers. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 26 v. 



The winter evenings should be spent by youthful students in study 
of the things prepared during the summer; that is, all the drawings 
from the nude which you have made in the summer should be brought 
together, and you should make a choice from among them of the best 
limbs and bodies, and practise at these and learn them by heart. 


Afterwards in the ensuing summer you should make choice of some 
one who has a good presence, and has not been brought up to wear 
doublets, and whose figure consequently has not lost its natural bear- 
ing, and make him go through various graceful and elegant move- 
ments. If he fails to show the muscles very clearly within the outlines 


of the limbs, this is o no consequence. It is enough for you merely to 
obtain good attitudes from the figure, and you can correct the limbs by 
those which you have studied during the winter. 


The painter who has acquired a knowledge of the nature of the 
sinews, muscles, and tendons will know exactly in the movement of 
any limb how many and which of the sinews are the cause of it, and 
which muscle by its swelling is the cause of this sinew's contracting, 
and which sinews having been changed into most delicate cartilage 
surround and contain the said muscle. So he will be able in divers 
ways and universally to indicate the various muscles by means of the 
different attitudes of his figures; and he will not do like many who in 
different actions always make the same things appear in the arm, the 
back, the breast, and the legs; for such things as these ought not to 
rank in the category of minor faults. 


Methinks it is no small grace in a painter to be able to give a pleas- 
ing air to his figures, and whoever is not naturally possessed of this 
grace may acquire it by study, as opportunity offers, in the following 
manner. Be on the watch to take the best parts of many beautiful 
faces of which the beauty is established rather by general repute than 
by your own judgment, for you may readily deceive yourself by select- 
ing such faces as bear a resemblance to your own, since it would often 
seem that such similarities please us; and if you were ugly you would 
not select beautiful faces, but would be creating ugly faces like many 
painters whose types often resemble their master; so therefore choose 
the beautiful ones as I have said, and fix them in your mind. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 27 r. 


The painter or draughtsman ought to be solitary, in order that the 
well-being of the body may not sap the vigour of die mind; and more 


especially when he is occupied with the consideration and investiga- 
tion o things which by being continually present before his eyes fur- 
nish food to be treasured up in the memory. 

If you are alone you belong entirely to yourself; if you are accom- 
panied even by one companion you belong only half to yourself, or 
even less in proportion to the thoughtlessness of his conduct; and if 
you have more than one companion you will fall more deeply into the 
same plight. 

If you should say, 1 will take my own course; I will retire apart, so 
that I may be the better able to investigate the forms of natural ob- 
jects', then I say this must needs turn out badly, for you will not be 
able to prevent yourself from often lending an ear to their chatter; 
and not being able to serve two masters you will discharge badly the 
duty of companionship, and even worse that of endeavouring to real- 
ise your conceptions in art. 

But suppose you say, *I will withdraw so far apart that their words 
shall not reach me nor in any way disturb me'. I reply that in this case 
you will be looked upon as mad, and bear in mind that in so doing you 
will then be solitary. 

If you must have companionship choose it from your studio; it may 
then help you to obtain the advantages which result from different 
methods of study. All other companionship may prove extremely 
harmful. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 27 v. and r. 

Of the method of learning aright how to compose groups of figures 
in historical pictures: 

When you have thoroughly learnt perspective, and have fixed in 
your memory all the various parts and forms of things, you should 
often amuse yourself when you take a walk for recreation, in watching 
and taking note of the attitudes and actions of men as they talk and 
dispute, or laugh or come to blows one with another, both their actions 
and those of the bystanders who either intervene or stand looking on 
at these things; noting these down with rapid strokes in this way, 1 in a 
little pocket-book, which you ought always to carry with you. And let 
this be of tinted paper, so that it may not be rubbed out; but you 
should change the old for a new one, for these are not things to be 

1 Sketch of figure in text o MS. 


rubbed out but preserved with the utmost diligence; for there is such 
an infinite number of forms and actions of things that the memory is 
incapable of preserving them, and therefore you should keep those 
[sketches] as your patterns and teachers. 


If as draughtsman you wish to study well and profitably, accustom 
yourself when you are drawing to work slowly, and to determine be- 
tween the various lights, which possess the highest degree and meas- 
ure of brightness, and similarly as to the shadows, which are those 
that are darker than the rest, and in what manner they mingle to- 
gether, and to compare their dimensions one with another; and so 
with the contours to observe which way they are tending, and as to 
the lines what part of each is curved in one way or another, and where 
they are more or less conspicuous and consequently thick or fine; and 
lastly to see that your shadows and lights may blend without strokes 
or lines in the manner of smoke. And when you shall have trained 
your hand and judgment with this degree of care it will speedily come 
to pass that you will have no need to take thought thereto. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 27 v* 


We know well that mistakes are more easily detected in the works of 
others than in one's own, and that oftentimes while censuring the 
small faults of others you will overlook your own great faults. In 
order to avoid such ignorance make yourself first of all a master of 
perspective, then gain a complete knowledge of the proportions of 
man and other animals, and also make yourself a good architect, that 
is in so far as concerns the form of the buildings and of the other 
things which are upon the earth, which are infinite in form; and the 
more knowledge you have of these the more will your work be worthy 
of praise; and for those things in which you have no practice do not 
disdain to draw from nature. But to return to what has been promised 
above, I say that when you are painting you should take a flat mirror 


and often look at your work within it, and it will then be seen in re- 
verse, and will appear to be by the hand of some other master, and 
you will be better able to judge o its faults than in any other way. 

It is also a good plan every now and then to go away and have a 
little relaxation; for then when you come back to the work your 
judgment will be surer, since to remain constantly at work will cause 
you to lose the power of judgment. 

It is also advisable to go some distance away, because then the work 
appears smaller, and more of it is taken in at a glance, and a lack of 
harmony or proportion in the various parts and in the colours of the 
objects is more readily seen. 


We know clearly that the sight is one of the swiftest actions that can 
exist, for in the same instant it surveys an infinite number of forms; 
nevertheless it can only comprehend one thing at a time. To take an 
instance: you, O Reader, might at a glance look at the whole of this 
written page, and you would instantly decide that it is full of various 
letters, but you will not recognise in this space of time either what 
letters they are or what they purport to say, and therefore it is neces- 
sary for you if you wish to gain a knowledge of these letters to take 
them word by word and line by line. 

Again, if you wish to go up to the summit of a building it will be 
necessary for you to ascend step by step, otherwise it will be impos- 
sible to reach the top. So I say to you whom nature inclines to this art 
that if you would have a true knowledge of the forms of different ob- 
jects you should commence with their details, and not pass on to the 
second until the first is well in your memory and you have practised 
it. If you do otherwise you will be throwing away time, and to a cer- 
tainty you will greatly prolong the period of study. And remember to 
acquire diligence rather than facility. MS. 2038 Bib, Nat. 28 r. 


Further I remind you to pay great attention in giving limbs to your 
figures, so that they may not merely appear to harmonize with the 


size of the body but also with its age. So the limbs o youths should 
have few muscles and veins, and have a soft surface and be rounded 
and pleasing in colour; in men they should be sinewy and full of 
muscles; in old men the surface should be wrinkled, and rough, and 
covered with veins, and with the sinews greatly protruding. 

How little children have their joints the reverse of those of men in 
their thickness: 

Little children have all the joints slender while the intervening parts 
are thick; and this is due to the fact that the joints are only covered by 
skin and there is no flesh at all over them, and this skin acts as a sinew 
to gird and bind together the bones; and a flabby layer of flesh is 
found between one joint and the next, shut in between the skin and 
the bone. But because the bones are thicker at the joints than between 
them, the flesh as the man grows up loses that superfluity which existed 
between the skin and the bone, and so the skin is drawn nearer to the 
bone and causes the limbs to seem more slender. But since there is 
nothing above the joints except cartilaginous and sinewy skin, this can- 
not dry up, and not being dried up it does not shrink So for these 
reasons the limbs of children are slender at the joints and thick be- 
tween the joints, as is seen in the joints of the fingers, arms, and 
shoulders which are slender and have great dimples; and a man on the 
contrary has all the joints of fingers, arms, and legs thick, and where 
children have hollows men have the joints protruding. 



I find a great difference between men and small boys in the length 
from one joint to another; for whereas the distance from the joint of 
the shoulder to the elbow, and from the elbow to the tip of the thumb, 
and from the humerus of one of the shoulders to the other, in a man 
is twice the head, in a child it is only once, because nature fashions 
the stature of the seat of the intellect for us before that of its active 



Make first a general shadow over the whole of the extended part 
which does not see the light; then give to it the half shadows and the 
strong shadows, contrasting these one with another. 

And similarly give the extended light in half-tone, adding after- 
wards the half-lights and the high lights and contrasting these in the 
same manner. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 28 v. 

In what way you ought to make a head so that its parts may fit into 
their true positions : 

To make a head so that its features are in agreement with those of 
a head that turns and bends, use these means: you know that the eyes, 
eyebrows, nostrils, corners of the mouth and sides of the chin, jaw, 
cheeks, ears and all the parts of a face are placed at regular position*' 
upon the face, therefore when you have made the face, make lines 
which pass from one corner of the eye to the other; and so also for 
the position of each feature. Then having continued the ends of these 
lines beyond the two sides of the face, observe whether on the right 
and the left the spaces in the same parallel are equal. But I would spe- 
cially remind you that you must make these lines extend to the point 
of your vision. 

The way to represent the eighteen actions of man: [these are] rest, 
movement, speed; erect, leaning, seated, bending, kneeling, lying 
down, suspended; carrying, being carried, pushing, dragging, striking, 
being struck, pressing down and raising up. 

You will treat first of the lights cast by windows to which you will 
give the name of restricted light; then treat of the lights of landscape 
to which you will give the name of free light; then treat of the light 
of luminous bodies. 


You know that you cannot make any animal without it having its 
limbs such that each bears some resemblance to that of some one of the 
other animals. If therefore you wish to make one of your imaginary 


animals appear natural let us suppose it to be a dragon take for its 
head that of a mastiff or setter, for its eyes those of a cat, for its ears 
those of a porcupine, for its nose that of a greyhound, with the eye- 
brows of a lion, the temples of an old cock and the neck of a water- 


See that when you are drawing and make a beginning of a line, 
that you look over all the object that you are drawing for any detail 
whatever which lies in the direction of the line that you have begun. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 29 r. 

How a figure is not worthy of praise unless such action appears in 
it as serves to express the passion of the soul: 

That figure is most worthy of praise which by its action best ex- 
presses the passion which animates it. 


An angry figure should be represented seizing someone by the hair 
and twisting his head down to the ground, with one knee on his ribs, 
and with the right arm and fist raised high up; let him have his hair 
dishevelled, his eyebrows low and knit together, his teeth clenched, the 
two corners of his mouth arched, and the neck which is all swollen and 
extended as he bends over the foe, should be full of furrows. 


A man who is in despair you should make turning his knife against 
himself, and rending his garments with his hands, and one of his hands 
should be in the act of tearing open his wound. Make him with his 
feet apart, his legs somewhat bent, and the whole body likewise bend- 
ing to the ground, and with his hair torn and streaming. 


The limbs should fit the body gracefully in harmony with the effect 
you wish the figure to produce; and if you desire to create a figure 


which shall possess a charm of its own, you should make it with limbs 
graceful and extended, without showing too many of the muscles, and 
the few which your purpose requires you to show indicate briefly, that 
is without giving them prominence, and with the shadows not sharply 
defined, and the limbs, and especially the arms, should be easy, that is 
that no limb should be in a straight line with the part that adjoins it. 
And if the hips which form as it were the poles of the man, are by 
his position placed so that the right is higher than the left, you should 
make the top shoulder-joint so that a line drawn from it perpendicu- 
larly falls on the most prominent part of the hip, and let this right 
shoulder be lower than the left. 

And let the hollow of the throat always be exactly over the middle of 
the joint of the foot which is resting on the ground. The leg which 
does not support the weight should have its knee below the other and 
near to the other leg. 

The positions of the head and arms are numberless, and therefore I 
will not attempt to give any rule; it will suffice that they should be 
natural and pleasing and should bend and turn in various ways, with 
the joints moving freely so that they may not seem like pieces of wood. 


If as experience shows luminous rays come from a single point, and 
proceed in the form of a sphere from this point radiating and spread- 
ing themselves through the air, the farther they go the more they are 
dispersed; and an object placed between the light and the wall is al- 
ways reproduced larger in its shadow, because the rays that strike it 
have become larger by the time they have reached the wall. 

MS, 2038 Bib. Nat. 29 v. 


As regards the arrangement of the limbs, you should bear in mind 
that when you wish to represent one who by some chance has either 
to turn backwards or on one side, you must not make him move his 
feet and all his limbs in the same direction as he turns his head; but 


you should show the process spreading itself and taking effect over the 
four sets of joints, namely those of the foot, the knee, the hip, and the 
neck. And if you let his weight rest on the right leg, you should make 
the knee of the left bend inwards; and the foot of it should be slightly 
raised on the outside, and the left shoulder should be somewhat lower 
than the right; and the nape of the neck should be exactly above the 
outer curve of the ankle of the left foot, and the left shoulder should 
be above the toe of the right foot in a perpendicular line. And always 
so dispose your figures that the direction in which the head is turned 
is not that in which the breast faces, since nature has for our con- 
venience so formed the neck that it can easily serve the different oc- 
casions on which the eye desires to turn in various directions; and to 
this same organ the other joints are in part responsive. And if ever 
you show a man sitting with his hands at work upon something by his 
side, make the chest turn upon the hip joints. 


A body which finds itself placed between two equal lights will put 
forth two shadows, which will take their direction equally according 
to the lines of the two lights. And if you move the body farther away 
or bring it nearer to one of the lights, the shadow which points to the 
nearer light will be less deep than that which points to the one more 


If an object placed in front of a particular light be very near to it 
you will see it cast a very large shadow on the opposite wall, and the 
farther you remove the object from the light the smaller will the 
shadow become. 


The want of proportion of the shadow which is greater than its 
cause, arises from the fact that as the light is less than its object it can* 


not be at an equal distance from the extremities of the object, and the 
part which is at a greater distance increases more than those which are 
nearer, and therefore the shadow increases. 


Atmosphere which surrounds a light almost partakes of the nature 
of this light in brightness and in warmth; the farther away it recedes 
the more it loses this resemblance. An object which casts a large shadow 
is near to the light and finds itself lit up both by the light and by the 
luminous atmosphere, and consequently this atmosphere leaves the 
contours of the shadow indistinct. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 30 r. 


Show first the smoke of the artillery mingled in the air with the dust 
stirred up by the movement of the horses and of the combatants. This 
process you should express as follows: the dust, since it is made up of 
earth and has weight, although by reason of its fineness it may easily 
rise and mingle with the air, will nevertheless readily fall down again, 
and the greatest height will be attained by such part of it as is the finest, 
and this will in consequence be the least visible and will seem almost 
the colour of the air itself. 

The smoke which is mingled with the dust-laden air will as it rises 
to a certain height have more and more the appearance of a dark cloud, 
at the summit of which the smoke will be more distinctly visible than 
the dust. The smoke will assume a bluish tinge, and the dust will keep 
its natural colour. From the side whence the light comes this mixture of 
air and smoke and dust will seem far brighter than on the opposite side* 

As for the combatants the more they are in the midst of this turmoil 
the less they will be visible, and the less will be the contrast between 
their lights and shadows. 

You should give a ruddy glow to the faces and the figures and the 
air around them, and to the gunners and those near to them, and this 
glow should grow fainter as it is farther away from its cause. The 
figures which are between you and the light, if far away, will appear 


dark against a light background, and the nearer their limbs are to the 
ground the less will they be visible, for there the dust is greater and 
thicker. And if you make horses galloping away from the throng, make 
little clouds of dust as far distant one from another as is the space 
between the strides made by the horse, and that cloud which is farthest 
away from the horse should be the least visible, for it should be high 
and spread out and thin, while that which is nearest should be most 
conspicuous and smallest and most compact. 

Let the air be full of arrows going in various directions, some 
mounting upwards, others falling, others flying horizontally; and let the 
balls shot from the guns have a train of smoke following their course. 
Show the figures in the foreground covered with dust on their hair and 
eyebrows and such other level parts as afford the dust a space to lodge. 

Make the conquerors running, with their hair and other light things 
streaming in the wind, and with brows bent down; and they should be 
thrusting forward opposite limbs, that is, if a man advances the right 
foot, the left arm should also come forward. If you represent anyone 
fallen you should show the mark where he has been dragged through 
the dust which has become changed to blood-stained mire, and round 
about in the half-liquid earth you should show the marks of the 
trampling of men and horses who have passed over it. 

Make a horse dragging the dead body of his master, and leaving 
behind him in the dust and mud the track of where the body was 
dragged along. 

Make the beaten and conquered pallid, with brows raised and knit 
together, and let the skin above the brows be all full of lines of pain; at 
the sides of the nose show the furrows going in an arch from the 
nostrils and ending where the eye begins, and show the dilatation of the 
nostrils which is the cause of these lines; and let the lips be arched 
displaying the upper row of teeth, and let the teeth be parted after the 
manner of such as cry in lamentation. Show someone using his hand 
as a shield for his terrified eyes, turning the palm of it towards the 
enemy, and having the other resting on the ground to support the 
weight of his body; let others be crying out with their mouths wide 
open, and fleeing away. Put all sorts of armour lying between the feet 
of the combatants, such as broken shields, lances, swords, and other 
things like these. Make the dead, some half-buried in dust, others with 


the dust all mingled with the oozing blood and changing into crimson 
mud; and let the line of the blood be discerned by its colour, flowing 
in a sinuous stream from the corpse to the dust. Show others in the 
death agony grinding their teeth and rolling their eyes, with clenched 
fists grinding against their bodies and with legs distorted. Then you 
might show one, disarmed and struck down by the enemy, turning on 
him with teeth and nails to take fierce and inhuman vengeance; and 
let a riderless horse be seen galloping with mane streaming in the wind, 
charging among the enemy and doing them great mischief with his 

You may see there one of the combatants, maimed and fallen on the 
ground, protecting himself with his shield, and the enemy bending 
down over him and striving to give him the fatal stroke; there might 
also be seen many men fallen in a heap on top of a dead horse; and 
you should show some of the victors leaving the combat and retiring 
apart from the crowd, and with both hands wiping away from eyes 
and cheeks the thick layer of mud caused by the smarting of their eyes 
from the dust. 1 

And the squadrons of the reserves should be seen standing full of 
hope but cautious, with eyebrows raised, and shading their eyes with 
their hands, peering into the thick, heavy mist in readiness for the 
commands of their captain; and so too the captain with his staff raised, 
hurrying to the reserves and pointing out to them the quarter of the 
field where they are needed; and you should show a river, within 
which horses are galloping, stirring the water all around with a heav- 
ing mass of waves and foam and broken water, leaping high into the 
air and over the legs and bodies of the horses; but see that you make 
no level spot of ground that is not trampled over with blood. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 31 r. and 30 v* 


This point ought to be at the same level as the eye of an ordinary 
man; and the end of the flat country which borders upon the sky 
should be made of the same height as the line where the earth touches 
the horizon, except for the mountains which are in liberty. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 31 r. 

1 MS. has per lamor della polvtre. 



I say that when objects appear of minute size, it is due to the said 
objects being at a distance from the eye; and when this is the case, 
there must of necessity be a considerable quantity of atmosphere be- 
tween the eye and the object, and this atmosphere interferes with the 
distinctness of the form of the objects, and consequently the minute 
details of these bodies will become indistinguishable and unrecog- 

Therefore, O painter, you should make your lesser figures only sug- 
gested, and not highly finished; for if you do otherwise, you will pro- 
duce effects contrary to those of nature, your mistress. 

The object is small because of the great space which exists between 
the eye and it. This great space contains within itself a great quantity 
of atmosphere; and this atmosphere forms of itself a dense body which 
ipterposes and shuts out from the eye the minute details of the objects. 


Since one sees by experience that all bodies are surrounded by 
shadow and light it is expedient, O painter, that you so dispose the part 
illuminated that it is outlined against a dark object, and that in the 
same way the part of the body in shadow is outlined against a bright 
object. And this rule will be a great help to you in giving relief to 
your figures. 


When you have to draw from nature stand three times as far away 
as the size of the object that you are drawing. 
Why does a painting seem better in a mirror than outside it? 


This benign nature so provides that over all the world you find 
something to imitate. 



Where the shadow is bounded by light, note carefully where it is 
lighter or darker, and where it is more or less indistinct towards the 
light; and above all I would remind you that in youthful figures you 
should not make the shadows end like stone, for the flesh retains a 
slight transparency, as may be observed by looking at a hand held 
between the eye and the sun, when it is seen to flush red and to be of 
a luminous transparency. 

And let the part which is brightest in colour be between the lights 
and the shadows. And if you wish to see what depth of shadow is 
needed for the flesh, cast a shadow over it with your finger, and 
according as you wish it to be lighter or darker, hold your finger nearer 
or farther away from the picture, and then copy this shadow. 


Those trees and shrubs which are more split up into a quantity of 
thin branches ought to have less density of shadow. The trees and the 
shrubs which have larger leaves cast a greater shadow. 

MS. 2038 Bib, Nat. 31 v. 


The disposition of the light should be in harmony with the natural 
conditions under which you represent your figure; that is, if you are 
representing it in sunlight, make the shadows dark with great spaces 
of light, and mark the shadows of all the surrounding bodies and their 
shadows upon the ground. If you represent it in dull weather, make 
only a slight difference between the lights and the shadows, and do not 
make any other shadow at the feet. If you represent it within doors, 
make a strong difference between the lights and shadows and show the 
shadow on the ground, and if you represent a window covered by a 
curtain and the wall white there should be little difference between the 
lights and shadows. If it is lit by a fire you should make the lights 
ruddy and powerful and the shadows dark; and the shadows should 
be sharply defined where they strike the walls or the floor, and the 


farther away they extend from the body the broader and larger should 
they become. And if it be lit in part by the fire and in part by the 
atmosphere, make the part lit by the atmosphere the stronger, and let 
that lit by the fire be almost as red as fire itself. And above all let the 
figures that you paint have sufficient light and from above, that is all 
living persons whom you paint, for the people whom you see in the 
streets are all lighted from above; and I would have you know that 
you have no acquaintance so intimate but that if the light fell on him 
from below you would find it difficult to recognise him. 


First of all copy drawings by a good master made by his art from 
nature and not as exercises; then from a relief, keeping by you a draw- 
ing done from the same relief; then from a good model; and of this 
you ought to make a practice. 


When you are drawing from nature the light should be from the 
north, so that it may not vary; and if it is from the south keep the 
window covered with a curtain so that though the sun shine upon it 
all day long the light will undergo no change. The elevation of the 
light should be such that each body casts a shadow on the ground 
which is of the same length as its height. 


Since we see that the quality of colours becomes known by means of 
light, it is to be inferred that where there is most light there the true 
quality of the colour so illuminated will be most visible, and where 
there is most shadow there the colour will be most affected by the 
colour of the shadow. Therefore, O painter, be mindful to show the 
true quality of the colours in the parts which are in light. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 33 r. 



Each part of the surface of a body is in part affected by the colour 
of the thing opposite to it. 


If you set a spherical body in the midst of different objects, thtt is, 
so that on the one side it has the light of the sun and on the side 
opposite there is a wall illuminated by the sun, which may be green 
or some other colour, the surface on which it is resting being red and 
the two transverse sides dark, you will see the natural colour of this 
object take on the hues of those colours which are over against it. The 
strongest will be that proceeding from the light, the second that from 
the illuminated wall, the third that of the shadow. There yet remains 
however a portion which will take its hue from the colour of the 

The supreme misfortune is when theory outstrips performance. 

In the choice of figures aim at softness and delicacy rather than that 
they should be stiff and wooden. 


That body will present the strongest contrast between its lights and 
shadows which is seen by the strongest light, such as the light of the 
sun or at night by the light of a fire; but this should rarely be em- 
ployed in painting, because the work will remain hard and devoid of 

A body which is in a moderate light will have but little difference 
between its lights and shadows; and this comes to pass at the fall of 
the evening, or when there are clouds: works painted then are soft in 
feeling and every kind of face acquires a charm. 

Thus in every way extremes are injurious. Excess of light makes 
things seem hard; 1 and too much darkness does not admit of our see- 
ing them. The mean is excellent. 

1 MS. has il tropo lume fa crudo. So also Dr. Richter. The text of M. Ravaissoa- 
Mollien has jaccndo in place of fa crudo* 



The lights cast from small windows also present a strong contrast 
of light and shadow, more especially if the chamber lit by them is 
large; and this is not good to use in painting. 

MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 33 v. 

The painter who draws by practice and judgment of the eye without 
die use of reason, is like the mirror that reproduces within itself all 
the objects which are set opposite to it without knowledge of the same. 

C.A. 76 r. a 

That countenance which in a picture is looking full in the face of 
the master who makes it will always be looking at all the spectators. 
And the figure painted when seen below from above will always 
appear as though seen below from above, although the eye of the 
beholder may be lower than the picture itself. C.A. in v. b 


If nature had only one fixed standard for the proportions of the 
various parts, then the faces of all men would resemble each other to 
such a degree that it would be impossible to distinguish one from 
another; but she has varied the five parts of the face in such a way that 
although she has made an almost universal standard as to their size, 
she has not observed it in the various conditions to such a degree as to 
prevent one from being clearly distinguished from another. 

C.A. 119 v. a 

As the body with great slowness produced by the length of its con- 
trary movement turns in greater space and thereby gives a stouter 
blow, whereas movements which are continuous and short have little 
strength so study upon the same subject made at long intervals of 
time causes the judgment to become more perfect and the better to 
recognise its own mistakes. And the same is true of the eye of the 
painter as it draws farther away from his picture. C.A. 122 v. a 

A picture or any representation of figures ought to be done in such a 
way that those who see them may be able with ease to recognise from- 


their attitudes what is passing through their minds. So if you have to 
represent a man o good repute in the act of speaking, make his ges- 
tures accord with the probity of his speech; and similarly if you have to 
represent a brutal man, make him with fierce movements flinging out 
his arms towards his hearer, and the head and chest protruding for- 
ward beyond the feet should seem to accompany the hands of the 

Just so a deaf mute who sees two people talking, although being 
himself deprived of the power of hearing, is none the less able to divine 
from the movements and gestures of the speakers the subject of their 

I once saw in Florence a man who had become deaf, who could not 
understand you if you spoke to him loudly, while if you spoke softly 
without letting the voice utter any sound, he understood you merely 
from the movement of the lips. Perhaps, however, you will say to me: 
'But does not a man who speaks loudly move his lips like one who 
speaks softly? And since the one moves his lips like the other, will not 
the one be understood like the other?' As to this I leave the decision to 
the test of experience. Set someone to speak softly and then [louder], 
and watch the lips. C,A. 139 r. d 

How from age to age the art of painting continually declines and 
deteriorates when painters have no other standard than work already 

The painter will produce pictures of little merit if he takes the works 
of others as his standard; but if he will apply himself to learn from the 
objects of nature he will produce good results. This we see was the case 
with the painters who came after the time of the Romans, for they con- 
tinually imitated each other, and from age to age their art steadily de- 

After these came Giotto the Florentine, and he reared in mountain 
solitudes, inhabited only by goats and such like beasts turning straight 
from nature to his art, began to draw on the rocks the movements of 
the goats which he was tending, and so began to draw the figures of all 
the animals which were to be found in the country, in such a way that 
after much study he not only surpassed the masters of his own time but 
all those of many preceding centuries. After him art again declined, 


because all were imitating paintings already done; and so for centuries 
it continued to decline until such time as Tommaso the Florentine, 
nick-named Masaccio, showed by the perfection of his work how those 
who took as their standard anything other than nature, the supreme 
guide of all the masters, were wearying themselves in vain. Similarly 
I would say about these mathematical subjects, that those who study 
only the authorities and not the works of nature are in art the grand- 
sons and not the sons of nature, which is the supreme guide of the good 

Mark the supreme folly of those who censure such as learn from na- 
ture, leaving uncensured the authorities who were themselves the 
disciples of this same nature! C.A. 141 r. b 


Of not regarding the limbs of the figures in historical subjects, as 
many do who in making whole figures spoil their arrangement. For 
when you make figures one behind another, see that you draw them in 
their entirety, so that the limbs which are seen appearing beyond the 
surface of the first figure may retain their natural length and position. 

C.A. 160 r. a 

When a man running wishes to use up the impetus which is carry- 
ing him on, he prepares a contrary impetus which is brought into op- 
eration by his leaning backwards; this is capable of proof, for if the 
impetus carries the moving body forward with a momentum repre- 
sented by four, and the impulse of the moving body to turn and fall 
back has a momentum of four the one momentum will neutralise the 
other which is contrary to it, and so the impetus is used up. 


The surface of each body takes part of the colour of whatever is set 
against it. The colours of the objects in light are reproduced on each 
other's surface at different spots according to the varieties in the posi- 
tions of these objects. [Diagram] Let o be a blue object in light, which 
alone by itself faces the space b c of the white sphere a b c d e /, and 


tinges it blue; and let m be a yellow object which is reflected on the 
space a b in company with the blue object o, and tinges it green, by the 
second of this which shows that blue and yellow together produce a 
most beautiful green, etc. and the rest will be set forth in the Book 
on Painting. In that book it will be demonstrated, by transmitting the 
images of the bodies and colours of the things illuminated by the sun 
through a small round hole in a dark place on to a smooth surface 
which in itself is white. But everything will be upside down. 

C.A. 181 r. a 


The painter requires such knowledge of mathematics as belongs to 
painting, and severance from companions who are not in sympathy 
with his studies, and his brain should have the power of adapting itself 
to the tenor of the objects which present themselves before it, and he 
should be freed from all other cares. 

And if while considering and examining one subject a second should 
intervene, as happens when an object occupies the mind, he ought to 
decide which of these subjects presents greater difficulties in investiga- 
tion, and follow that until it becomes entirely clear, and afterwards 
pursue the investigation of the other. And above all he should keep his 
mind as clear as the surface of a mirror, which becomes changed to as 
many different colours as are those of the objects within it, and his 
companions should resemble him in a taste for these studies, and if 
he fail to find any such he should accustom himself to be alone in 
bis investigations, for in the end he will find no more profitable 
companionship. C.A. 184 v. c 


I say that one ought first to learn about the limbs and how they are 
worked, and after having completed this knowledge one ought to 
study their actions in the different conditions in which men are placed, 
and thirdly to devise figure compositions, the studies for these being 
taken from natural actions made on occasion as opportunities offered; 
and one should be on the watch in the streets and squares and fields, 


and there make sketches with rapid strokes to represent features, that 
is for a head one may make an o, and for an arm a straight or curved 
line, and so in like manner for the legs and trunk, afterwards when 
back at home working up these notes in a completed form. 

My opponent says that in order to gain experience and to learn how 
to work readily, it is better that the first period of study should be spent 
in copying various compositions made by different masters either on 
sheets of paper or on walls, since from these one acquires rapidity in 
execution and a good method. But to this it may be replied that the 
ensuing method would be good if it was founded upon works that were 
excellent in composition and by diligent masters; and since such masters 
are so rare that few are to be found, it is safer to go direct to the works 
of nature than to those which have been imitated from her originals 
with great deterioration and thereby to acquire a bad method, for he 
who has access to the fountain does not go to the water-pot. 

C.A. 199 v. a 

These rules are to be used solely in testing figures; for every man in 
his first compositions makes certain mistakes, and if he does not become 
conscious of them he does not correct them; therefore in order to dis- 
cover mistakes you should test your work and where you find there mis- 
takes correct them, and remember never to fall into them again. But if 
you were to attempt to apply all these rules in composition you would 
never make a beginning and would cause confusion in your work. 

These rules are intended to help you to a free and good judgment; 
for good judgment proceeds from good understanding, and good under- 
standing comes from reason trained by good rules, and good rules are 
the children of sound experience, which is the common mother of all 
the sciences, and arts. If therefore you bear well in mind the precepts 
of my rules you will be able merely by the accuracy of your judgment 
to criticize and discern every error in proportion in any work, whether 
it is in the perspective or in the figures or other things. C.A. 221 v. d 

All the limbs of every kind of animal should correspond with its age, 
that is, the young should not show their veins or nerves as most [paint- 
ers] do in order to show their dexterity in art, spoiling the whole by 
mistakes in the limbs. 


All the parts of an animal should correspond with the whole, that is, 
when a man is short and thickset you must see that each of his limbs is 
short and thickset. 

Let the movements of men be such as are in keeping with their 
dignity or meanness. C.A. 345 v. b 

Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose and design; 
that is, when you make your figure you should consider carefully who 
it is and what you wish it to be doing. 

In order to produce an effect of similar action in a picture of an 
old man and a young, you must make the action of the young man 
appear more vigorous in proportion as he is more powerful than the 
old man, and you will make the same difference between a young 
man and an infant. 

If you have to represent a man either as moving or lifting or pulling,, 
or carrying a weight equal to his own weight, how ought you to fit the 
legs under his body? C.A. 349 r. b 

Painters oftentimes deceive themselves by representing water in 
which they render visible what is seen by man; whereas the water sees 
the object from one side and the man sees it from the other; and it 
frequently happens that the painter will see a thing from above and the 
water sees it from beneath, and so the same body is seen in front and 
behind, and above and below, for the water reflects the image of the 
object in one way and the eye sees it in another. C.A. 354 r. d 

We consider as a monstrosity one who has a very large head and 
short legs, and as a monstrosity also one who is in great poverty and 
has rich garments; we should therefore deem him well proportioned 
in whom the parts are in harmony with the whole. C.A. 375 r. c 


The painter who has clumsy hands will reproduce the same in his 
works, and the same thing will happen with every limb unless long 
study prevents it. Do you then, O painter, take careful note of that part 
in yourself which is most mis-shapen, and apply yourself by study to 


remedy this entirely. For if you are brutal, your figures will be the 
same and devoid of grace, and in like manner every quality that there 
is within you of good or of evil will be in part revealed in your figures, 

A 23 r. 

When you draw nudes be careful always to draw the whole figure, 
and then finish the limb which seems the best and at the same time 
study its relation to the other limbs, as otherwise you may form the 
habit of never properly joining the limbs together. 

Take care never to make the head turn the same way as the chest 
nor the arm move with the leg; and if the head is turned towards the 
right shoulder make all the parts lower on the left side than on 
the right, but if you make the chest prominent and the head turning 
on the left side, then make the parts on the right side higher than 
those on the left. A 28 v. 

Note in the movements and attitudes of the figures how the limbs 
and their expressions vary, because the shoulder blades in the move- 
ments of the arms and shoulders alter considerably the position of the 
backbone; and you will find all the causes of this in my book of 


You, who reproduce the works of nature, behold the dimensions, the 
degrees of intensity, and the forms of the lights and shadows of each 
muscle, and observe in the lengths of their figures towards which 
muscle they are directed by the axis of their central lines. 3 r. 


The background that surrounds the figures in any subject composi- 
tion ought to be darker than the illuminated part of these figures, and 
lighter than their part in shadow. 41. 

That every part of a whole should be in proportion to its whole: 
thus if a man has a thick short figure that he should be the same in 
every one of his limbs, that is, with short thick arms, big hands, fingers 
thick and short, with joints of the same character and so with the rest. 


And I would have the same understood to apply to all kinds of animals 
and plants; thus, in diminishing the parts, do so in proportion to their 
size, as also in enlarging. 


In representing wind, in addition to showing the bending of the 
boughs and the inverting of their leaves at the approach of the wind, 
you should represent the clouds of fine dust mingled with the troubled 
air. E 6 v - 


The first requisite of painting is that the bodies which it represents 
should appear in relief, and that the scenes which surround them with 
effects of distance should seem to enter into the plane in which the pic- 
ture is produced by means of the three parts of perspective, namely the 
diminution in the distinctness of the form of bodies, the diminution in 
their size, and the diminution in their colour. Of these three divisions 
of perspective, the first has its origin in the eye, the two others are 
derived from the atmosphere that is interposed between the eye and the 
objects which the eye beholds. 

The second requisite of painting is that the actions should be appro- 
priate and have a variety in the figures, so that the men may not all 
look as though they were brothers. E 79 v. 


The painter ought to strive at being universal, for there is a great 
lack of dignity in doing one thing well and another badly, like many 
who study only the measurements and proportions of the nude figure 
and do not seek after its variety; for a man may be properly propor- 
tioned and yet be fat and short or long and thin, or medium. And who- 
ever does not take count of these varieties will always make his figures 
in one mould, so that they will all appear sisters, and this practice 
deserves severe censure. 



It is an easy matter for whoever knows how to represent man to 
afterwards acquire this universality, for all the animals which live upon 
the earth resemble each other in their limbs, that is in muscles, sinews 
and bones, and they do not vary at all, except in length or thickness as 
will be shown in the Anatomy. There are also the aquatic animals, o 
which there are many different kinds; but with regard to these I do not 
advise the painter to make a fixed standard, for they are of almost 
infinite variety; and the same is also true of the insect world. G 5 v. 


The air was dark from the heavy rain which was falling slantwise, 
bent by the cross-current of the winds, and formed itself in waves in the 
air, like those one sees formed by the dust, the only difference being 
that these drifts were furrowed by the lines made by the drops of the 
falling water. It was tinged by the colour of the fire produced by the 
thunder-bolts wherewith the clouds were rent and torn asunder, the 
flashes from which smote and tore open the vast waters of the flooded 
valleys, and as these lay open there were revealed their depths x the 
bowed tops of the trees. 

Neptune might be seen with his trident in the midst of the waters, 
and uEoIus with his winds should be shown entangling the floating 
trees which had been uprooted and were mingled with the mighty 

The horizon and the whole firmament was overcast and lurid with 
the flashings of the incessant lightning. 

Men and birds might be seen crowded together upon the tall trees 
which over-topped the swollen waters, forming hills which surround 
the great abysses. G 6 v, 

a Dr. Richter reads vcrtici. I have followed M. Ravaisson-Mollien in reading ventri. 
MS. has vertri. 



Those who are enamoured of practice without science are like a 
pilot who goes into a ship without rudder or compass and never ha* 
any certainty where he is going. 

Practice should always be based upon a sound knowledge of theory, 
of which perspective is the guide and gateway, and without it nothing 
can be done well in any kind of painting. o 8 r. 

Of the lights on the lower extremities of bodies packed tightly to- 
gether, such as men in battle: 

Of men and horses labouring in battle, the different parts should be 
darker in proportion as they are closer to the ground on which they are 
supported; and this is proved from the sides of wells, which become 
darker in proportion to their depth, this being due to the fact that the 
lowest part of the well sees and is seen by a lesser amount of the 
luminous atmosphere than any other part of it. And the pavements 
when they are the same colour as the legs of the men and horses will 
always seem in higher light within equal angles than will these same 
legs. G 15 r, 


First you should consider the figures whether they have the relief 
which their position requires, and the light that illuminates them, so 
that the shadows may not be the same at the extremities of the com- 
position as in the centre, because it is one thing for a figure to be 
surrounded by shadows, and another for it to have the shadows only on 
one side. Those figures are surrounded by shadows which are towards 
the centre of the composition, because they are shaded by the dark figures 
interposed between them and the light; and those are shaded on one 
side only which are interposed between the light and the main group, 
for where they do not face the light they face the group, and there they 
reproduce the darkness cast by this group, and where they do not face 
the group they face the brightness of the light, and there they reproduce 
its radiance. 

1 At margin of MS., 'See first the [Ars] Poetica o Horace*. 


Secondly, you should consider whether the distribution or arrange- 
ment of the figures is devised in agreement with the conditions you 
desire the action to represent. 

Thirdly, whether the figures are actively engaged on their purpose. 

G 19 r. 


A very important part of painting consists in the backgrounds of the 
things painted. Against these backgrounds the contour lines of such 
natural bodies as possess convex curves will always reveal the shapes of 
these bodies, even though the colours of the bodies are of the same hue 
as the background. 

This arises from the fact of the convex boundaries of the objects not 
being illuminated in the same manner as the background is by the same 
light, because frequently the contours are clearer or darker than the 

Should however these contours be of the same colour as the back- 
ground, then undoubtedly this part of the picture will interfere with the 
perception of the figure formed by these contour lines. Such a predica- 
ment in painting ought to be avoided by the judgment of good painters, 
since the painter's intention is to make his bodies appear detached from 
the background; and in the above-mentioned instance the contrary 
occurs, not only in the painting but in the objects in relief. G 23 v. 



There are many men who have a desire and love for drawing but 
no aptitude for it, and this can be discerned in children if they are not 
diligent and never finish their copies with shading. 

The painter is not worthy of praise who does only one thing well, 
as the nude, or a head, or draperies, or animal life, or landscapes, or 
such other special subject; for there is no one so dull of understanding 
that after devoting himself to one subject only and continually practis- 
ing at this, he will fail to do it well. G 25 r. 


[The representation of things in movement] 

Of the imitation of things which though they have movement in 
their own place, do not in this movement reveal themselves as they are 
in reality. 

Drops of water when it rains, a winder, the turning-wheel, stones 
under the action of water, firebrands whirled round in a circle, proceed 
continuously, among things which are not in continuous movement. 

G 35 r - 



The truth of this proposition is proved by the fact that the boundary 
of the substance is a surface, which is neither a part of the body enclosed 
by this surface nor a part of the atmosphere which surrounds this body, 
but is the medium interposed between the atmosphere and the body, 
as is proved in its place. 

But the lateral boundaries of these bodies are the boundary line of 
the surface, which line is of invisible thickness. Therefore, O painter, 
do not surround your bodies with lines, and especially when making 
objects less than their natural size, for these not only cannot show their 
lateral boundaries, but their parts will be invisible, from distance. 

G 37 r. 


The high lights or the lustre of any particular object will not be 
situated in the centre of the illuminated part, but will make as many 
changes of position as the eye that beholds it. H 90 [42] v. 

Painters have a good opportunity of observing actions in players, 
especially at ball or tennis or with the mallet when they are contending 
together, better indeed than in any other place or exercise. i 48 v, 

It is the extremities of all things which impart to them grace or lack 
of grace. i 92 [44] v. 

Men and words are actual, and you, painter, if you do not know how 
to execute your figures, will be like an orator who does not know how 
to use his words. K no [30] v. 


It is a necessary thing for the painter, in order to be able to fashion 
the limbs correctly in the positions and actions which they can represent 
in the nude, to know the anatomy of the sinews, bones, muscles and 
tendons in order to know, in the various different movements and im- 
pulses, which sinew or muscle is the cause of each movement, and to 
make only these prominent and thickened, and not the others all over 
the limb, as do many who in order to appear great draughtsmen make 
their nudes wooden and without grace, so that it seems rather as if you 
were looking at a sack of nuts than a human form or at a bundle of 
radishes rather than the muscles of nudes. L 79 r. 

In all things seen one has to consider three things, namely the posi- 
tion of the eye that sees, the position of the object seen and the position 
of the light that illumines this body. M 80 r. 

[With sketch] 

In the last folds of the joints of any limb everything which was in 
relief becomes a hollow, and similarly every hollow in the last of the 
said folds is changed into a protuberance when the end of the limb is 

He who has not knowledge of this, often makes very great mistakes 
through relying too much upon his own skill, and not having recourse 
to the imitation of nature. And such variation is found more in the 
middle of the sides than in front and more behind than at the sides. 

B.M. 44 r. 

The painter contends with and rivals nature. Forster m 44 v. 

[On draperies] 

Variety in the subjects. The draperies thin, thick, new, old, with folds 
broken and pleated, cride dolci [ Psoft lights], shadows obscure and less 
obscure, either with or without reflections, definite or indistinct accord- 
ing to the distances and the various colours; and garments according 
to the rank of those who are wearing them, long and short, fluttering 
or stiff in conformity with the movements; so encircling the figures as 
to bend or flutter with ends streaming upwards or downwards accord- 
ing to the folds, clinging close about the feet or separated from them, 
according as the legs are shown at rest or bending or twisting or strik- 
ing together within; either fitting closely or separating from the joints. 


according to the step or movement or whether the wind is represented. 

And die folds should correspond to the quality of the draperies 
whether transparent or opaque. 
[Repetition the greatest defect in a painter] 

The greatest defect in a painter is to repeat the same attitudes and 
the same expressions ... in one . . . 
[On draperies] 

On the thin clothes of the women in walking, running and jumping, 
and their variety. 
[Notes on painting] 

And in painting make a discourse on the clothes and other raiments. 

And you, O painter, who desire to perform great things, know that 
unless you first learn to do them well and with good foundations, the 
work that you do will bring you very little honour and less gain, but if 
you do it well it will produce you plenty of honour and be of great 
utility. Quaderni rv 15 r. 

When the subject of your picture is a history make two points, one 
of the eye and the other of the light, and make the latter as far distant 
as possible. Windsor: Drawings 12604 r. 

Nature of movements in man. Do not repeat the same actions in the 
limbs of men unless the necessity of their action constrains you. 

Windsor: Drawings 19149 v. 



Let the dark, gloomy air be seen beaten by the rush of opposing 
winds wreathed in perpetual rain mingled with hail, 1 and bearing 
hither and thither a vast network of the torn branches of trees mixed 
together with an infinite number of leaves. All around let there be seen 
ancient trees uprooted and torn in pieces by the fury of the winds. You 
should show how fragments of mountains, which have been already 
stripped bare by the rushing torrents, fall headlong into these very tor- 
rents and choke up the valleys, until the pent-up rivers rise in flood and 

1 MS. gravza. I have followed Dr. Richter's suggestion gragnuola. 


cover the wide plains and their inhabitants. Again there might be seen 
huddled together on the tops o many of the mountains many different 
sorts of animals, terrified and subdued at last to a state of tameness, in 
company with men and women who had fled there with their children. 
And the fields which were covered with water had their waves covered 
over in great part with tables, bedsteads, boats and various other kinds 
of rafts, improvised through necessity and fear of death, upon which 
were men and women with their children, massed together and utter- 
ing various cries and lamentations, dismayed by the fury of the winds 
which were causing the waters to roll over and over in mighty hurri- 
cane, bearing with them the bodies of the drowned; and there was no 
object that floated on the water but was covered with various different 
animals who had made truce and stood huddled together in terror, 
among them being wolves, foxes, snakes and creatures of every kind, 
fugitives from death. And all the waves that beat against their sides 
were striking them with repeated blows from the various bodies of the 
drowned, and the blows were killing those in whom life remained. 

Some groups of men you might have seen with weapons in their 
hands defending the tiny footholds that remained to them from the 
lions and wolves and beasts of prey which sought safety there. Ah, 
what dreadful tumults one heard resounding through the gloomy air, 
smitten by the fury of the thunder and the lightning it flashed forth, 
which sped through it, bearing ruin, striking down whatever withstood 
its course! Ah, how many might you have seen stopping their ears 
with their hands in order to shut out the loud uproar caused through 
the darkened air by the fury of the winds mingled together with the 
rain, the thunder of the heavens and the raging of the thunderbolts! 
Others were not content to shut their eyes, but placing their hands over 
them, one above the other, would cover them more tightly in order not 
to see the pitiless slaughter made of the human race by the wrath of 

Ah me, how many lamentations! How many in their terror flung 
themselves down from the rocks! You might have seen huge branches 
of the giant oaks laden with men borne along through the air by the 
fury of the impetuous winds. How many boats were capsized and 
lying, some whole, others broken in pieces, on the top of men struggling 
to escape with acts and gestures of despair which foretold an awful 


death. Others with frenzied acts were taking their own lives, in despair 
of ever being able to endure such anguish; some of these were flinging 
themselves down from the lofty rocks, others strangled themselves with 
their own hands; some seized hold of their own children, and with 
mighty violence slew them at one blow; some turned their arms against 
themselves to wound and slay; others falling upon their knees were 
commending themselves to God. 

Alas! how many mothers were bewailing their drowned sons, hold- 
ing them upon their knees, lifting up open arms to heaven, and with 
divers cries and shrieks declaiming against the anger of the gods! 
Others with hands clenched and fingers locked together gnawed and 
devoured them with bites that ran blood, crouching down so that their 
breasts touched their knees in their intense and intolerable agony. 

Herds of animals, such as horses, oxen, goats, sheep, were to be seen 
already hemmed in by the waters and left isolated upon the high peaks 
of the mountains, all huddling together, and those in the middle climb- 
ing to the top and treading on the others, and waging fierce batdes with 
each other, and many of them dying from want of food. 

And the birds had already begun to settle upon men and other 
animals, no longer finding any land left unsubmerged which was not 
covered with living creatures. Already had hunger, the minister of 
death, taken away their life from the greater number of the animals, 
when the dead bodies already becoming lighter began to rise from out 
the bottom of the deep waters, and emerged to the surface among the 
contending waves; and there lay beating one against another, and as 
balls puffed up with wind rebound back from the spot where they 
strike, these fell back and lay upon the other dead bodies. 

And above these horrors the atmosphere was seen covered with 
murky clouds that were rent by the jagged course of the raging thun- 
derbolts of heaven, which flashed light hither and thither amid the 
obscurity of the darkness. 

The velocity of the air is seen by the movement of the dust stirred 
by the running of a horse; and it moves as swiftly to fill up the void left 
in the air which had enclosed the horse as is the speed of the horse in 
passing away from the aforesaid space of air. 

But it will perhaps seem to you that you have cause to censure me for 
having represented the different courses taken in the air by the move- 


ment of the wind, whereas the wind is not o itself visible in the air; to 
this I reply that it is not the movement of the wind itself but the move- 
ment of the things carried by it which alone is visible in the air. 

The divisions 

Darkness, wind, tempest at sea, deluge of water, woods on fire, rain, 
thunderbolts from the sky, earthquakes and destruction of mountains, 
levelling of cities. 

Whirlwinds which carry water and branches of trees and men 
through the air. 

Branches torn away by the winds crashing together at the meeting 
of the winds, with people on the top of them. 

Trees broken off laden with people. 

Ships broken in pieces dashed upon the rocks. 

Hail, thunderbolts, whirlwinds. 

Herds of cattle. 

People on trees which cannot bear them: trees and rocks, towers, 
hills crowded with people, boats, tables, troughs and other contrivances 
for floating, hills covered with men and women and animals, with 
lightnings from the clouds which illumine the whole scene. 

Windsor: Drawings 12665 v. 


First of all let there be represented the summit of a rugged mountain 
with certain of the valleys that surround its base, and on its sides let the 
surface of the soil be seen slipping down together with, the tiny roots of 
the small shrubs, and leaving bare a great part of the surrounding 
rocks. Sweeping down in devastation from these precipices, let it pursue 
its headlong course, striking and laying bare the twisted and gnarled 
roots of the great trees and overturning them in ruin. And the moun- 
tains becoming bare should reveal the deep fissures made in them by 
the ancient earthquakes; and let the bases of the mountains be in great 
part covered over and dad with the debris of the shrubs which have 
fallen headlong from the sides of the lofty peaks of the said mountains, 
and let these be mingled together with mud, roots, branches of trees, 


with various kinds o leaves thrust in among the mud and earth and 
stones. And let the fragments of some of the mountains have fallen 
down into the depth of one of the valleys, and there form a barrier to 
the swollen waters of its river, which having already burst the barrier 
rushes on with immense waves, the greatest of which are striking and 
laying in ruin the walls of the cities and farms of the valley. And from 
the ruins of the lofty buildings of the aforesaid cities let there rise a 
great quantity of dust, mounting up in the air with the appearance of 
smoke or of wreathed clouds that battle against the descending rain. 

But the swollen waters should be coursing round the pool which con- 
fines them, and striking against various obstacles with whirling eddies, 
leaping up into the air in turbid foam, and then falling back and caus- 
ing the water where they strike to be dashed up into the air; and the 
circling waves which recede from the point of contact are impelled by 
their impetus right across the course of the other circling waves which 
move in an opposite direction to them, and after striking against these 
they leap up into the air without becoming detached from their base. 

And where the water issues forth from the said pool, the spent waves 
are seen spreading out towards the outlet; after which, falling or 
descending through the air, this water acquires weight and impetus; 
and then piercing the water where it strikes, it tears it apart and dives 
down in fury to reach its depth, and then recoiling, it springs back 
again towards the surface of the lake accompanied by the air which has 
been submerged with it, and this remains in the slimy foam * mingled 
with the driftwood and other things lighter than the water, and around 
these again are formed the beginnings of the waves, which increase the 
more in circumference as they acquire more movement; and this move- 
ment makes them lower in proportion as they acquire a wider base, and 
therefore they become almost imperceptible as they die away. But if the 
waves rebound against various obstacles then they leap back and oppose 
the approach of the other waves, following the same law of develop- 
ment in their curve as they have already shown in their original move- 
ment. The rain as it falls from the clouds is of the same colour as these 
clouds, that is on its shaded side, unless, however, the rays of the sun 

1 Richter's transcript (609) is 'vissci cholla', and he reads 'nella uscita colla 
sciuma'. The MS. has, I think, 'visscichosa*, which I have taken as a variant of 'vis- 


should penetrate there, for i this were so the rain would appear less 
dark than the cloud. And if the great masses of the debris of huge 
mountains or of large buildings strike in their fall the mighty kkes of 
the waters, then a vast quantity of water will rebound in the air, and its 
course will be in an opposite direction to that of the substance which 
struck the water, that is to say the angle of reflection will be equal to 
the angle of incidence. 

Of the objects borne along by the current of the waters, that will be 
at a greater distance from the two opposite banks which is heavier or of 
larger bulk. The eddies of the waters revolve most swifdy in those parts 
which are nearest to their centre. The crests of the waves of the sea fall 
forward to their base, beating and rubbing themselves against the 
smooth particles which form their face; and by this friction the water as 
it falls is ground up in tiny particles, 1 and becomes changed to thick 
mist, and is mingled in the currents of the winds in the manner of 
wreathing smoke or winding clouds, and at last rises up in the air and 
becomes changed into clouds. But the rain which falls through the air, 
being beaten upon and driven by the current of the winds, becomes rare 
or dense according to the rarity or density of these winds, and by this 
means there is produced throughout the air a flood of transparent 
clouds which is formed by the aforesaid rain, and becomes visible in it 
by means of the lines made by the fall of the rain which is near to the 
eye of the spectator. 2 The waves of the sea that beats against the shelv- 
ing base of the mountains which confine it, rush 3 foaming in speed up 
to the ridge of these same hills, and in turning back meet the onset of 
the succeeding wave, and after loud roaring return in a mighty flood 
to the sea from whence they came. A great number of the inhabitants, 
men and different animals, may be seen driven by the rising of the 
4eluge up towards the summits of the hills which border on the said 

Waves of the sea at Piombino all of foaming water. 

1 MS., e ttal conjreghatione trita in minute partichule la dissciente acqua. 

*MS., *ce p(er) qucssto si gienera infrallaria vna innondatione di trasspareti nuvoli 
fa quote cfiacta datta p(r)edetta pioggia e inquassta si fa manijessta mediante i linia- 
meti fatti dal disscieso della pioggia che e vicina all ochio che la vede'. The words printed 
in italics are wanting in the text as given by Dr. Richter (609). 

8 Dr. Richter reads saranno (for MS. sarrano), but the text is, I t-hitik, scorrano, 
presumably for scorrono. 


Of the water that leaps up [of the place where the great masses fall 
and strike the waters] x of the winds of Piombino. 

Eddies of winds and of rain with branches and trees mingled with 
the air. 

The emptying the boats of the rain water. 

Windsor: Drawings 12665 r. 

1 Thc sentence within brackets is crossed through in the MS. 


( MaJ(e the perspective of the colours so that it is not 
at variance with the size of any object, that is, that 
the colours lose part of their nature in proportion as 
the bodies at different distances suffer loss of their 
natural quantity. 9 


Of colours of equal whiteness that will seem most dazzling which 
is on the darkest background, and black will seem most intense when 
it is against a background of greater whiteness. 

Red also will seem most vivid when against a yellow background, 
and so in like manner with all the colours when set against those 
which present the sharpest contrasts. C.A. 184 v. c 

The more white a thing is the more it will be tinged with the col- 
our of the illuminated or luminous object. C.A. 262, r. c 

But in the far distance that object will show itself most blue which 
is darkest in colour. C.A. 305 r. a 

Every object that has no colour in itself is tinged either entirely or 
in part by the colour [of the object] set opposite to it. This may be 
seen by experience, for every object which serves as a mirror is tinged 
with the colour of the thing that is reflected in it. And if the object 
which is in part tinged is white, the portion of it that is illumined by 
red will appear red, and so with every other colour whether it be 
light or dark. 

Every opaque object that is devoid of colour partakes of the colour 
of that which is opposite to it: as happens with a white wall. 

A 19 v. 



Note how spirit (acqua vite) collects in itself all the colours and 
scents of the flowers; and if you wish to make azure, put cornflowers 
and then wild poppies. B 3 v. 

[Of distant colour] 

The variation in the colours of objects at a great distance can only 
be discerned in those portions which are smitten by the solar rays. 

c 12 v. 

As regards the colours of bodies there is no difference at a great 
distance in the parts which are in shadow. c 13 r, 

A dark object will appear more blue when it has a larger amount of 
luminous atmosphere interposed between it and the eye, as may be 
seen in the colour of the sky. c 18 r, 

[A discussion on the colours of shadows] 


Colours seen in shadow will reveal more or less of their natural 
beauty in proportion as they are in fainter or deeper shadow. 

But if the colours happen to be in a luminous space they will show 
themselves of greater beauty in proportion as the luminosity is more 


The varieties in the colours of shadows are as numerous as the 
varieties in colour of the objects which are in the shadows. 


Colours seen in shadow will reveal less variety one with another 
according as the shadows wherein they lie are deeper. There is evi- 
dence of this from those who from a space without peer within the 
doorways of shadowy temples, for there the pictures clad as they are 
in divers colours all seem robed in darkness. 


So therefore at a long distance all the shadows of different colours 
appear of the same darkness. 

Of bodies clad in light and shade it is the illuminated part which 
reveals the true colour. E 18 r. 

No white or black is transparent. F 23 r, 


Since white is not a colour but is capable of becoming the recipient 
of every colour, when a white object is seen in the open air all its 
shadows are blue; and this comes about in accordance with the fourth 
proposition, which says that the surface of every opaque body par- 
takes of the colour of surrounding objects. As therefore this white 
object is deprived of the light of the sun by the interposition of some 
object which comes between the sun and it, all that portion of it which 
is exposed to the sun and the atmosphere continues to partake of the 
colour of the sun and the atmosphere, and that part which is not 
exposed to the sun remains in shadow, and partakes only of the 
colour of the atmosphere* 

And if this white object should neither reflect the green of the fields 
which stretch out to the horizon nor yet face the brightness of the 
horizon itself, it would undoubtedly appear of such simple colour as 
the atmosphere showed itself to be. * 75 r. 


The accidental colours of the leaves of trees are four, namely shadow, 
light, lustre and transparency. 


The accidental parts of the leaves of plants will at a great distance 
become a mixture, in which the accidental colour of the largest will 
predominate. G 24 r. 


The colour of the object illuminated partakes of the colour of that 
which illuminates it. G 37 r. 


The surface of every body participates in the colour of the body that 
illuminates it: 

And in the colour of the air that is interposed between the eye and 
this body, that is to say in the colour of the transparent medium inter- 
posed between the object and the eye. 

Among colours of the same quality, the second will never be of the 
same colour as the first; and this proceeds from the multiplication of 
the colour of the medium interposed between the object and the eye. 

053 v. 

Of the various colours other than blue, that which at a great distance 
will resemble blue most closely will be that which is nearest to black, 
and so conversely the colour which least resembles black will be the 
one which at a great distance will most retain its natural colour. 

Accordingly, the green in landscapes will become more changed into 
blue than will the yellow or the white, and so conversely the yellow 
and the white will undergo less change than the green, and the red 
still less. L 75 v. 

The shadow of flesh should be of burnt terra verdc. L 92 r. 

The image imprinted in a mirror partakes of the colour of the said 
mirror. B.M. 211 v. 

The surface of every dark body will participate in the colour of the 
bodies placed against it. Forster in 74 v. 

The surface of every opaque body will be capable of participating and 
will be tinged with the colour of the bodies placed against it. 

Forster in 75 r. 


[The apparent colours of smofo on the horizon] 

The density of smoke from the horizon downwards is white and 
from the horizon upwards it is dark; and, although this smoke is in 
itself of the same colour, this equality shows itself as different, on 
account of the difference of the space in which it is found. 

Quaderni rv 3 r. 


[Colour of flame] 

As flame extends it becomes yellow in its upper part, then saffron 
in colour, and this ends in smoke. Quaderni iv 10 v. 


The surface o every opaque body participates in the colour of its 

The surface of the opaque body is the more completely steeped in 
the colour of its object, in proportion as the rays of the images of these 
objects strike the objects at more equal angles. 

And the surface of opaque bodies is more steeped in the colour of 
their object, in proportion as this surface is whiter, and the colour of 
the object more luminous or illuminated. Quaderni vi 22 r. 



The colours of the rainbow are not created by the sun, because in 
many ways these colours are produced without the sun, as happens 
when you hold up a glass of water close to the eye, for in the glass of 
it there are the tiny bubbles which are usually seen in glass that is 
imperfectly refined. And these bubbles although they are not in sun- 
light will produce on one side all the colours of the rainbow; and this 
you will see if you place the glass between the atmosphere and your 
eye in such a way as to be in contact with the eye, the glass having 
one side exposed to the light of the atmosphere, and on the other the 
shadow of the wall on the right or left side of the window, which side 
does not matter. So by turning this glass round you will see the afore- 
said colours round about these bubbles in the glass. And we will speak 
of other methods in their place. 


The eye in the experiment described above would seem to have some 
share in the creation of the colours of the rainbow, because the bub- 


bles in the glass do not display these colours except through the me- 
dium of the eye. But if you place this glass full of water on the level 
of the window, so that the sun's rays strike it on the opposite side, you 
will then see the aforesaid colours producing themselves, in the im- 
pression made by the solar rays which have penetrated through this 
glass of water, and terminated upon the floor in a dark place at the 
foot of the window; and since here the eye is not employed we clearly 
can say with certainty that these colours do not derive in any way frcm 
the eye. 



There are many birds in the various regions of the world in whose 
feathers most radiant colours are seen produced in their different 
movements, as is seen happen among us with the feathers of peacocks, 
or on the necks of ducks or pigeons. 

Moreover on the surface of ancient glass found buried, and in the 
roots of radishes which have been kept a long time at the bottom of 
wells or other stagnant water [we see] that each of these roots is sur- 
rounded by a sequence of colours like those of the rainbow. It is seen 
when some oily substance has spread on the top of water; as also in 
the solar rays reflected from the surface of a diamond or beryl. Also, 
in the facet of the beryl, every dark object which has as its background 
the atmosphere or other clear object is surrounded by this sequence of 
colours interposed between the atmosphere and the dark object; and 
so in many other ways which I leave because these suffice for this 
present theme. Windsor: Drawings 19150 r. 


'Describe landscapes with wind and water and at the 
setting and rising of the sun' 

WITHIN the spaces between the rain one sees the redness of the sun, 
that is o the clouds interposed between the sun and the rain. 

The waves interposed between the rain and the eye never reveal to 
the eye the image of the darkness of this rain, and this is due to the 
fact that the side of the wave is not seen nor does it see the rain. 

And the clouds are of dark purple. C.A. 38 r. b 

Of things seen through the mist the part which is nearest to the 
extremities will be less visible, and so much less when they are more 
remote. C.A. 76 r. b 

A mountain that stretches above a city which raises dust in the form 
of clouds, but the colour of this dust is varied by the colour of these 
clouds; and, where the rain is thickest, the colour of the dust is least 
visible; and, where the dust is thickest, the rain is least visible; and, 
where the rain is mingled with the wind and the dust, the clouds cre- 
ated by the rain are more transparent than those of the dust. 

And when the flames of the fire are mingled with clouds of smoke 
and steam this creates dark and very thick clouds. 

The rest of this discourse will be treated of clearly in the book of 

\With drawing\ 

The trees, smitten by the course of the winds, bend towards the 
place where the wind is moving, and after the wind has passed they 
bend in the opposite movement, that is in the reflex movement. 

The mighty fury of the wind, driven by the avalanches of the moun- 
tains above the yawning caverns, by means of the avalanches of the 
mountains which formed a covering to these caverns. C.A. 79 r. c 



When rain is falling from broken clouds one sees the shadows of 
these clouds upon the earth interrupted by the part of the earth that 
is illuminated by the sun. 


When the sun is lower the arc has a larger circle, and when it is 
higher it will be the contrary. 

When the sun is in the west, hidden behind some small and thick 
cloud, then this cloud will be surrounded by a ruddy splendour. 

C.A. 97 v. a 

Why towers and campaniles at a great distance, although of uni- 
form thickness, seem like inverted pyramids. 

This arises from the fact that the lower tracts of air being thick and 
misty veil them more completely, and the more an object is veiled 
the more the perception of its extremities is lost, and consequently the 
perception of the object tends to concentrate about its central line. 

C.A. 130 v. b 


In the houses of a city, where one observes that the divisions between 
them are clear when it is misty below, if the eye is above the level of 
the houses the lines of vision, as they descend in the space that is 
between house and house, plunge into mist which is more dense and 
therefore, being less transparent, seems whiter; and if one house is 
higher than another the reality is more to be discerned in the thinner 
air, and therefore they seem more indistinct in proportion as they are 
less 1 elevated. C.A. 160 r. a 

This came about by reason of the clouds interposed between the 
earth and the sun, wherefore being in the west it grew red and with 
its ruddy glow lit as with a haze all the things visible to it, but so 
much more or less in proportion as these things were nearer or more 
remote. C.A. 165 v. b 

At the first hour of the day the atmosphere in the south near to the 
horizon has a dim haze of rose-flushed clouds; towards the west it 
grows darker, and towards the east the damp vapour of the horizon 

"MS. p&. 


shows brighter than the actual horizon itself, and the white of the 
houses in the east is scarcely to be discerned, while in the south, the 
farther distant they are, the more they assume a dark rose-flushed 
hue, and even more so in the west; and with the shadows it is the 
contrary, for these disappear before the white. 

[....] in the east, and the tops of the trees are more visible than 
their bases, since the atmosphere is thicker lower down, and the struc- 
ture becomes more indistinct at a height. 

And in the south, the trees may scarcely be distinguished by reason 
of the vapour which darkens in the west and grows clear in the east. 

C.A. 176 r. b 


If between the eye and the horizon there intervenes the slope of a 
hill that drops towards the eye, and the eye finds itself at about the 
middle of the height of the slope then the hill will acquire darkness 
with every stage of its length. This is proved by the seventh of this 
which says; that plant will show itself darker which is seen more be- 
low; therefore the proposition is confirmed, because the hill shows 
from the centre downwards all its plants in the parts which are as 
much illumined by the brightness of the sky, as the part which is 
in shade is shaded by the darkness of the earth. For which reason it 
is necessary that these plants should be of moderate darkness, and 
from this point on towards the bases of the hills the plants are con- 
tinually becoming brighter through the converse of the seventh propo- 
sition, for by this seventh proposition the nearer such plants are to the 
summit of the hill the more of necessity they become darker. And it 
follows that this darkness is not proportionate to the distance, from the 
eighth proposition which says: that thing will show itself darker which 
finds itself in finer air; and by the tenth: that will show itself darker 
which borders on the brighter background. C.A. 184 v. c 


Buildings seen at a great distance in the evening or morning through 
mist or heavy atmosphere, have only such portions in light as are 


illuminated by the sun which is then near the horizon, and the parts 
o those buildings which are not exposed to the sun remain almost the 
same dim neutral colour as the mist. 

Why the higher things situated at a distance are darker than the 
lower ones even though the mist is o uniform thickness : 

Of the things situated in mist or any other dense atmosphere, 
whether this arise from vapour or smoke or distance, that will be 
most visible which is the highest, and of things of equal height that 
will seem darkest which is against a background of the deepest mist. 
As happens with the eye h, which beholding a b c, towers of equal 
height, sees c the summit of the first tower at r, situated below in the 
mist at two degrees of depth, and sees the summit of the centre tower 
b in only one degree of mist; therefore the summit c will show itself 
darker than the summit of the tower b. 3 v. 


The landscapes which occur in representations of winter should not 
show the mountains blue as one sees them in summer, and this is 
proved by the fourth part of this [chapter], where it is stated that of 
the mountains seen at a great distance that will seem a deeper blue 
in colour which is in itself darker; for when the trees are stripped of 
their leaves they look grey in colour, and when they are with their 
leaves they are green, and in proportion as the green is darker than 
the grey, the green will appear a more intense blue than the grey; 
and by the fifth part of this [chapter], the shadows of trees which are 
clad with leaves are as much darker than the shadows of those trees 
which are stripped of leaves as the trees clad with leaves are denser 
than those without leaves; and thus we have established our propo- 

The definition of the blue colour of the atmosphere supplies the 
reason why landscapes are a deeper shade of blue in summer than in 

The shadows of trees set in landscapes do not seem to occupy the 
same positions in the trees on the left as in those on the right, and this 
especially when the sun is on the right or the left. This is proved by 


the fourth which states: opaque bodies placed between the light 
and the eye will show themselves entirely in shadow; and by the 
fifth: the eye that is interposed between the opaque body and the 
light sees the opaque body all illuminated; and by the sixth: when 
the eye and the opaque body are interposed between the darkness 
and the light the body will be seen half in shadow and half in light. 

E 19 r. 


The object will appear more or less distinct at the same distance, in 
proportion as the atmosphere interposed between the eye and this 
object is of greater or less clearness. 

Since therefore you are aware that the greater or less quantity of 
atmosphere interposed between the eye and the object causes the out- 
lines of these objects to seem more or less blurred to the eye, you 
should represent the stages of loss of definition of these bodies in the 
same proportion to each other as that of their distances from the eye 
of the beholden E 79 v. 

When the smoke from dry wood comes between the eye of the 
observer and some dark space it appears blue. 

So the atmosphere appears blue because of the darkness which is 
beyond it; and if you look towards the horizon of the sky you will see 
that the atmosphere is not blue, and this is due to its density; and so, 
at every stage as you raise your eye up from this horizon to the sky 
which is above you, you will find that the atmosphere will seem 
darker, and this is because a lesser quantity of air interposes between 
your eye and the darkness. 

And if you are on the top of a high mountain the atmosphere will 
seem darker above you, just in proportion as it becomes rarer between 
you and the said darkness; and this will be intensified at every succes- 
sive stage of its height, so that at the last it will remain blue. 

That smoke will appear the bluest which proceeds from the driest 
wood, and is nearest to the place of its origin, and when it is seen 
against the darkest background with the light of the sun upon it. 

F 18 r. 


The smoke that penetrates through the air if it is thick, and rises 
out of great flame which is fed by damp wood, does not mingle with 
it but makes itself seem denser above than in the centre, and does this 
the more when the air is chilly; and the faint gleam that penetrates the 
air is always warm and always becoming fainter, and of the dust 
which passes through the air the finest rises the highest. F 88 r. 

Although leaves with a smooth surface are for the most part of the 
same colour on the right side as on the reverse, it so happens that 
the side exposed to the atmosphere partakes of tie colour of the at- 
mosphere, and seems to partake of its colour more closely in propor- 
tion as the eye is nearer to it and sees it more foreshortened. And the 
shadows will invariably appear darker on the right side than on the 
reverse, through the contrast caused by the high lights appearing 
against the shadow. 

The under side of the leaf, although its colour in itself may be the 
same as that of the right side, appears more beautiful; and this colour 
is a green verging upon yellow; and this occurs when the leaf is inter- 
posed between the eye and the light which illumines it from the op- 
posite side. Its shadows also are in the same positions as those on the 
opposite side. 

Therefore, O painter, when you make trees near at hand, remember 
that when your eye is somewhat below the level of the tree you will 
be able to see its leaves some on the right side and some on the reverse; 
and the right sides will be a deeper blue as they are seen more fore- 
shortened, and the same leaf will sometimes show part of the right side 
and part of the reverse, and consequently you must make it of two 
colours. 031, and 2 v, 

When there is one belt of green behind another, the high lights on 
the leaves and their transparent lights show more strongly than those 
which are against the brightness of the atmosphere. 

And if the sun illumines the leaves without these coming between 
it and the eye, and without the eye facing the sun, then the high lights 
and the transparent lights of the leaves are extremely powerful. 

It is very useful to make some of the lower branches, and these 
should be dark, and should serve as a background for the illuminated 
belts of green which are at some little distance from the first. 


Of the darker greens seen from below, that part is darkest which is 
nearest to the eye, that is to say which is farthest from the luminous 
atmosphere. G 4 r. 

Never represent leaves as though transparent in the sun, because 
they are always indistinct; and this comes about because over the 
transparency of one leaf there will be imprinted the shadow of an- 
other leaf which is above it; and this shadow has definite outlines and 
a fixed density. And sometimes it is the half or third part of the leaf 
which is in the shadow, and consequently the structure of such a leaf 
is indistinct, and the imitation of it is to be avoided. 

The upper branches of the spreading boughs of trees keep nearer to 
the parent bough than do those below. 

That leaf is less transparent which takes the light at a more acute 
angle. G 4 v 


Of the plants which take their shadows from the trees which grow 
among them, those which are in front of the shadow have their stalks 
lighted up against a background of shadow, and the plants which are 
in shadow have their stalks dark against a light background, that is 
against a background which is beyond the shadow. 


Of the trees which are between the eye and the light, the part in 
front will be bright, and this brightness will be diversified by the 
ramification of the transparent leaves as seen from the under side 
with the shining leaves seen from the right side, and in the back- 
ground, below and behind, the verdure will be dark, because it is cast 
in shadow by the front part of the said tree; and this occurs in trees 
which are higher than the eye. c 9 v. 


When the leaves are interposed between the light and the eye, then 
that which is nearest to the eye will be the darkest, and that farthest 


away will be the lightest, if they are not seen against the atmosphere; 
and this happens with leaves which are beyond the centre of the tree, 
that is in the direction of the light. o 10 v. 


The true method of practice. in representing country scenes, or I 
should say landscapes with their trees, is to choose them when the 
sun in the sky is hidden, so that the fields receive a diffused light and 
not the direct light of the sun, for this makes the shadows sharply de- 
fined and very different from the lights, G n v. 


The shadows of verdure always approximate to blue, and so it is 
with every shadow of every other thing, and they tend to this colour 
more entirely when they are farther distant from the eye, and less in 
proportion as they are nearer. 

The leaves which reflect the blue of the atmosphere always present 
themselves edgewise to the eye. 


The part illuminated will show more of its natural colour at a great 
distance when it is illuminated by the most powerful light. G 15 r. 


When the sun is in the east and the eye is looking down upon a city 
from above, the eye will see the southern part of the city with its roofs 
half in shadow and half in light, and so also with the northern part; 
but the eastern part will be all in shadow and the western part all in 


Landscapes ought to be represented so that the trees are half in light 
and half in shadow; but it is better to make them when the sun is 


covered by clouds, for then the trees are lighted up by the general light 
of the sky and the general shadow of the earth; and these are so much 
darker in their parts, in proportion as these parts are nearer to the 
middle of the tree and to the earth. G. 19 v 


When the sun is in the east, the trees in the south and north are 
almost as much in light as in shadow, but the total amount in light is 
greater in proportion as they are more to the west, and the total 
amount in shadow is greater in proportion as they are more to the 


When the sun is in the east, the grasses in the meadows and the 
other small plants are of a most brilliant green, because they are trans- 
parent to the sun. This does not happen with the meadows in the 
west, and in those in the south and north the grasses are of a moderate 
brilliance in their green. G 20 v. 


When the sun is in the east all the parts of trees which are illu- 
minated by it are of a most brilliant green; and this is due to the fact 
that the leaves illuminated by the sun within half our hemisphere, 
namely the eastern half, are transparent, while within the western 
semicircle the verdure has a sombre hue and the air is damp and 
heavy, of the colour of dark ashes, so that it is not transparent like that 
in the east, which is refulgent, and the more so as it is more full of 

The shadows of the trees in the east cover a large part of the tree, 
and they are darker in proportion as the trees are thicker with leaves. 

G 21 r. 


When the sun is in the east the trees seen towards the east will 
have the light surrounding them all around their shadows, except 
towards the earth, unless the tree has been pruned in the previous 


year; and the trees in the south and in the north will be half in 
shadow and half in light, and more or less in shadow or in light ac- 
cording as they are more or less to the east or to the west. 

The fact of the eye being high or low causes a variation in the 
shadows and lights of trees, for when the eye is above, it sees the trees 
with very little shadow, and when below with a great deal of shadow. 

The different shades of green of plants are as varied as are their 
species. o 21 v. 


When the sun is in the east the trees towards the west will appear 
to the eye with very little relief and of almost imperceptible grada- 
tion, on account of the atmosphere which lies very thick between the 
eye and these trees, according to the seventh [part] of this [treatise]; 
and they are deprived of shadow, for although a shadow exists in each 
part of the ramification, it so happens that the images of shadow and 
light which come to the eye are confused and blended together, and 
cannot be discerned through the smallness of their size. And the high- 
est lights are in the centre of the trees and the shadows are toward 
their extremities, and their separation is marked by the shadows in 
the spaces between these trees when the forests are dense with trees; 
and in those which are more scattered the contours are but little seen. 

G 22 r. 


When the sun is in the east the trees in that quarter are dark towards 
the centre, and their edges are in light. 


The smoke is seen better and more distinctly in the eastern than in 
the western quarter when the sun is in the east This is due to two 
causes: the first is that the sun shines with its rays through the par- 
ticles of the smoke, and lightens these up and renders them visible; 
the second is that the roofs of the houses seen in the east at this hour 
are in shadow, because their slope prevents them from being lighted 
by the sun; the same happens with die dust, and both the one and the 


other are more charged with light in proportion as they are thicker; 
and they are thickest towards the middle. G 22 v. 


When the sun is in the east the smoke o cities will not be visible in 
the west, because it is neither seen penetrated by the solar rays nor 
against a dark background, since the roofs of the houses turn the same 
side to the eye that they show to the sun, and against this bright back- 
ground the smoke will be scarcely visible. But dust when seen under 
the same conditions will appear darker than smoke, because it is 
thicker in substance than smoke, which is made up of vapour. 

023 r. 

[Of trees penetrated by the air} 


The intervening region of the air within the bodies of trees, and the 
spaces between the trees within the air at a great distance, do not 
reveal themselves to the eye, for where it requires an effort to discern 
the whole it would be difficult to distinguish the parts. But it forms a 
confused mixture, which derives most from that which forms the 
greatest mass. The open spaces of the tree being made up of particles 
of illuminated air, and being much less than the tree, one therefore 
loses sight of them much sooner than one does of the tree; but it does 
not therefore follow that they are not there. Hence of necessity there 
comes about a blending of air and of the darkness of the shaded tree, 
which float together to meet the eye of the beholder. 


That part of the tree will show fewer open spaces when it has be- 
hind it, between the tree and the air, the greater mass of another tree. 
So with the tree a the open spaces are not covered, nor in , because 
there are no trees behind. But in c there is only open space in the half, 
that is to say that c is covered by the tree d, and part of the tree d is 


covered by the tree <?, and a little beyond this all the open spaces within 
the circumference o the trees are lost, and only those at the sides 
remain. G 2 5 v - 


What outlines do trees show at a distance against the atmosphere 
which serves as their background? The outlines of the structure of trees 
against the luminous atmosphere, as they are more remote, approach 
the spherical more closely in their shape, and as they are nearer, so 
they display a greater divergence from the spherical form. 

So the first tree a * as being near to the eye displays the true form of 
its ramification, but this is somewhat less visible in b, and disappears 
altogether in <:, where not only can none of the branches of the tree be 
seen, but the whole tree can only be recognised with great difficulty. 

Every object in shadow be it of whatever shape you please will 
at a great distance appear to be spherical; and this occurs because if an 
object be rectangular, then at a very short distance its angles become 
invisible, and a little farther off it loses more than it retains of the lesser 
sides, and so before losing the whole it loses the parts, since these are 
less than the whole. 

So with a man when so situated, you lose sight of the legs, arms and 
head, before the trunk, and then the extremities of the length become 
lost before those of the breadth, and when these have become equal 
there would be a square 2 if the angles remained, but as they are lost 
there is a sphere. G 26 v. 

In the representation of trees in leaf be careful not to repeat the 
same colour too often, for a tree which has another tree of the same 
colour as its background, but vary it by making the foliage lighter or 
darker, or of a more vivid green. G 27 v. 


The lights on such leaves as are darkest in colour will most closely 
resemble the colour of the atmosphere reflected in them; and this is due 

1 MS, contains a sketch of a row of trees seen in perspective. 
*I have followed Dr. Richter in interpreting a tiny figure in the text as a square. 
M. Ravaisson-Mollien reads it as ci. 


to die fact that the brightness of the illuminated part mingling with the 
darkness forms of itself a blue colour; and this brightness proceeds from 
the blue of the atmosphere, which is reflected in the smooth surface of 
these leaves, thereby adding to the blueness which this light usually 
produces when it falls upon dark objects. 


But leaves of yellowish green do not when they reflect the atmosphere 
create a reflection which verges on blue; for every object when seen in 
a mirror takes in part the colour of this mirror; therefore the blue of 
the atmosphere reflected in the yellow of the leaf appears green, because 
blue and yellow mixed together form a most brilliant green, and there- 
fore the lustre on light leaves which are yellowish in colour will be a 
greenish yellow. 


The trees, illuminated by the sun and by the atmosphere, which 
have leaves of a dark colour, will be illuminated on one side by the 
atmosphere alone, and in consequence of being thus illuminated will 
share its blueness; and on the opposite side they will be illuminated 
both by the atmosphere and the sun, and the part which the eye sees 
illuminated by the sun will be resplendent. G 28 v. 

The extremities of the branches of trees if not dragged down by the 
weight of their fruit turn towards the sky as much as possible. 

The upper sides of their leaves are turned towards the sky in order 
to receive nourishment from the dew that falls by night. 

The sun gives spirit and life to plants, and the earth nourishes them 
with moisture. In this connection I once made the experiment of leav- 
ing only one small root on a gourd and keeping this nourished with 
water; and the gourd brought to perfection all the fruits that it could 
produce, which were about sixty gourds of the long species; and I set 
myself diligently to consider the source of its life, and I perceived that 
it was the dew of the night which steeped it abundantly with its mois- 


Cure through the joints of its great leaves, and thereby nourished the tree 
and its offspring, or rather the seeds which were to produce its off- 

The rule as to the leaves produced on the last of the year's branches 
is that on twin branches they will grow in a contrary direction, that is, 
that the leaves in their earliest growth turn themselves round towards 
the branch, in such a way that the sixth leaf above grows over the sixth 
leaf below; and the manner of their turning is that if one turns towards 
its fellow on the right, the other turns to the left. 

The leaf serves as a breast to nourish the branch or fruit which grows 
in the succeeding year. G 32 v. 


The dark colours of the shadows of mountains at a great distance 
take a more beautiful and purer blue than those parts which are in 
light, and from this it follows that when the rock of the mountains is 
reddish the parts of it which are in light are fawn-coloured, and the 
more brightly it is illuminated the more closely will it retain its natural 
colour. i 48 r. 


Smoke enters into the air in the form of a wave, like that which 
water makes when its force causes it to burst through other water. 

i 106 [58] r. 

Reeds in the light are scarcely visible, but between the light and the 
shade they stand out well, 

To represent landscapes, choose when the sun is at the meridian and 
turn to the west or the east, and then begin your work. 

If you turn to the north every object placed on that side will be 
without shadow, and especially those nearest to the shadow cast by your 
head, and if you turn to the south every object upon that side will be 
entirely in shadow. 

All the trees which are towards the sun and which have the atmos- 
phere for their background will be dark, and the other trees which 
have this darkness for their background will be black in the centre and 
lighter towards the edges. L 87 r. 



Low, tall, thin, thick, that is with leaves, dark, light, yellow, red, 
with branches pointing upwards, with branches that meet the eye, with 
branches that point downwards, with trunks white, those transparent 
in the air, those not, those massed together, those spread out. 

L 87 v. 

The line o equality and that o the horizon are the same. 

M 36 v. 

Landscapes are o a more beautiful azure when in fine weather the 
sun is at noon, than at any other hour of the day, because the atmos- 
phere is free from moisture; and viewing them under such conditions 
you see the trees beautiful towards their extremities and the shadows 
dark towards the centre; and in the farther distance the atmosphere 
which is interposed between you and them appears more beautiful 
when beyond it there is some darker substance, and consequently the 
azure is most beautiful. 

Objects seen from the side on which the sun is shining will not show 
you their shadows. But if you are lower than the sun you will see what 
was not seen by the sun, and that will be all in shadow. 

The leaves of the trees which are between you and the sun are of 
five principal shades of colour, namely a green most beautiful, shining 
and serving as a mirror for the atmosphere which lights up objects that 
cannot be seen by the sun, and the parts in shadow that only face the 
earth, and those darkest parts which are surrounded by something other 
than darkness. 

Trees in the open country which are between you and the sun seem 
much more beautiful than those which have you between the sun and 
themselves; and this is the case because those which are in the same 
direction as the sun show their leaves transparent towards their 
extremities, and the parts that are not transparent, that is at the tips, 
are shining; it is true that the shadows are dark, because they are not 
covered by anything. 

The trees when you place yourself between them and the sun will 
only show themselves to you in their clear and natural colour, which is 
not of itself very conspicuous, and besides this certain reflected lights, 


which, owing to their not being against a background that offers a 
strong contrast to their brightness, are but little in evidence; and if you 
are at a lower altitude than these, such parts of them may be visible as 
are not exposed to the sun, and these will be dark. 


But if you are on the side from whence the wind is blowing, you will 
see the trees looking much lighter than you would see them from the 
other sides; and this is due to the fact that the wind turns up the reverse 
sides of the leaves, which are in all cases much paler than their right 
sides; and especially will they be very light if the wind blows from the 
quarter where the sun happens to be, and if you have your back turned 
to it B.M. 113 v. 

All trees seen against the sun are dark towards the centre; this dark- 
ness will take the shape of the tree when it stands apart from others. 

The shadows cast by trees on which the sun is shining are as dark 
as that of the centre of the tree. 

The shadow cast by trees is never less in mass than the mass of the 
tree; but it is larger in proportion as the place where it is thrown slopes 
more towards the centre of the earth. 

A shadow will be thickest towards the centre of a tree when it has 
fewest branches. 

Every branch gets the middle of the shadow of every other branch 
and as a consequence of all the tree* 

The shape of every shadow 'of branch or tree is clothed with a bright 
part on the side from which the light comes; this brightness will be of 
the same shape as the shadow and may extend for a mile from the side 
where the sun is. 

If it should happen anywhere that a cloud casts a shadow on some 
part of the hills, the trees there will undergo less change than in the 
distances or plains; for the trees upon the hills have their branches 
thicker because their growth each year is less than in the plains; there- 
fore as they are of the number of those naturally dark and full of shade 
the shadows of the clouds cannot make them any darker, and the level 
spaces that come between the trees which have not lost any shadow 


vary very much in tone, and especially those which are other than 
green, such as cultivated lands or the havoc of mountains or their 
barrenness or ruggedness. 

Where trees are on the skyline they seem of the same colour, unless 
they are very close together and with thick-set leaves like the pine and 
similar trees. 

When you see trees on the side on which the sun lights them you 
will see them of almost uniform brightness, and the shadows which are 
within them will be covered by the illuminated leaves which come 
between your eye and the shadows. 

When trees come between the sun and the eye beyond the shadows 
which spread out from their centre you will see the green of the leaves 
in transparence; but this transparence will be broken in many places 
by the leaves and branches in shadow which come between you and 
them, and in the upper portions it will be accompanied by many 
reflections from the leaves, B.M. 114 r. 

When the sun is covered by clouds, objects have a low degree of 
visibility; because there is but little difference between the lights and 
shadows of the trees and buildings, through them being illuminated 
by the spaciousness of the atmosphere, which surrounds the objects in 
such a way that the shadows are few, and these few become fainter and 
fainter so that their extremities become lost in mist. 

The trees in kndscapes are of various different shades of green; for 
in some, such as firs, pines, cypresses, laurels, box and the like, it bor- 
ders on black; others such as walnuts and pears* vines and young foli- 
age approximate to yellow; others to darker shades of yellow, such as 
chestnuts, oaks and the like, others redden towards the autumn, these 
are sorbs, pomegranates, vines and cherry trees; others such as willows, 
olives, bamboos, and others like these, tend to become white. 

B.M. II4V. 


All the leaves which hang down towards the ground as the twigs 
bend, owing to the branches being turned over, straighten themselves 


in the current of the winds; and here their perspective is inverted, for 
if the tree is between you and the quarter from which the wind is 
coming, the tips of the leaves which are towards you take their natural 
position, and those opposite which should have their tips the contrary 
way, from the fact of their being upside down, will be turned with their 
tips towards you. 

Trees in a landscape do not stand out distinctly one from another, 
because their illuminated parts border on the illuminated parts of those 
beyond them, and so there is little difference between the lights and 
the shadows. 

When clouds come between the sun and the eye all the edges of their 
rounded masses are clear, and they are dark towards the centre, and this 
happens because towards the top these edges are seen by the sun from 
above while you are looking at them from below; and the same hap- 
pens with the positions of the branches of the trees; and moreover the 
clouds, like the trees, through being somewhat transparent are partly 
bright, and at the edges show themselves thinner. 

But when the eye finds itself between the cloud and the sun, the 
appearance of the cloud is the contrary of what it was before, for the 
edges of its rounded masses are dark and they are bright towards the 
centre. And this comes about because you are looking at that part 
which is also facing the sun, and because these edges have a degree of 
transparency and reveal to the eye the part that is hidden beyond them, 
and this not being visible to the sun as are the parts which are turned 
towards it is necessarily somewhat darker. It may also be that you see 
the details of these rounded masses from the underside while the sun 
sees it from above, and since they are not so situated as to give back the 
brightness of the sun as in the former instance, therefore they remain 

The black clouds which are often visible above those that are bright 
and illuminated by the sun, are thrown into shadow by the other clouds 
which are interposed between them and the sun. 

Again the rounded masses of the clouds that face the sun show their 
edges dark, because they are silhouetted x against a bright background; 
and to see the truth of this you should observe the top of a cloud which 

1 MS. canpegiano. 


is entirely light because it is silhouetted against the blue of the atmos- 
phere which is darker than the cloud. B.M. 172 v. 


I ask whether the true movement of the clouds can be recognised by 
the movement of their shadows, and similarly by the movement of the 
sun. Forster u 46 r. 

The sun will appear greater in moving water or when the surface is 
broken into waves than it does in still water. An example is of the light 
reflected on the strings of the monochord. Windsor: Drawings 12350 


The clouds do not display their roundnesses except in those parts 
which are seen by the sun: other roundnesses are imperceptible because 
they are in the parts in shadow. 

If the sun is in the east and the clouds are in the west, the position 
of the eye being between the sun and the cloud, it sees the edges of the 
roundnesses which are the component parts of these clouds as dark, 
and the portions which are surrounded by these darknesses become 
light. And this proceeds from the fact that the edges of the rounded 
forms of these clouds face the sky above and around them, so that it is 
mirrored in them. 

The cloud and the tree display no roundness in those of their parts 
which are in shadow. Windsor: Drawings 12388 

The shadows of clouds are lighter in proportion as they are nearer 
to the horizon. Windsor: Drawings 12391 

That part of a tree which is against a background of shadow is al] 
of one tone, and where the trees or branches are thickest there it is 
darkest because there is less perforation by the air. But where the 
branches are on a background of other branches there the luminous 
parts show themselves brighter and the leaves more resplendent, 
because of the sun which illumines them. 

Windsor: Drawings 12431 v. 



The density of smoke below the horizon appears white and above 
the horizon dark, and even though the smoke is in itself of uniform 
colour this uniformity will seem to vary, according to the difference 
of the space in which it is found. Windsor MSS. R 878 

Light and Shade 

'No substance can be comprehended without light 
and shade; light and shade are caused by light! 

THAT place is most shaded on which the greatest number of shaded 
rays converge. 

That place which is smitten by the shaded rays at the greatest angle 
is darkest. 

That place will be most luminous from which the greatest number 
of luminous rays are reflected. C.A. 31 v. b 

Light is the expeller of darkness. Shadow is the suppression of light. 

Primary light is that which is the cause of the lighting of shaded 

And the derived lights are those parts of bodies which are illumined 
by the primary light. 

Primary shadow is that side of a body on which the light does not 

Derived shadow is simply the striking of shaded rays. 

Each body which creates a concourse of rays fills the surrounding 
air with an infinite number of its images. 

A shaded and luminous concourse is that mass of rays which emanate 
from a shaded and luminous body running through the air without 

Shaded or luminous percussion is that which impedes and cuts above 
itself the concourse of shaded and luminous rays. C.A. 116 r. b 

The shadow in diaphanous and spherical bodies is darker at the top 
than in the hollow, and darker amid the darkness of the derived 
shadow of the body of the ball. 

Every object seen is surrounded by second objects, and from this it 



is known: and in proportion as the second object is farther away than 
the first so much the more does the first cover it from the eye. 

C.A. 125 r. b 

Among the things of equal obscurity which are situated at a con- 
siderable and equal distance, that will appear more obscure which has 
its station higher up from the earth. 

The edges of a derived shadow will be most distinct where it is cast 
nearest to the original shadow. 

A shaded body will appear of less size when it is surrounded by a 
very luminous background, and a luminous body will show itself 
greater when it is set against a darker background: as is shown in the 
heights of buildings at night when there are flashes of lightning behind 
them. For it instantly appears, as the lightning flashes, that the building 
loses a part of its height. 

And from this it comes to pass that these buildings appear larger 
when there is mist, or by night, than when the air is clear and 
illumined. C.A. 126 r. b 

The breadth and length of shadow and of light, although through 
foreshortening it may appear less in quantity, will not therefore appear 
diminished as to quality either in respect of brightness or darkness. 

C.A. 144 v. a 

All the illuminated parts of a body which see the whole circle of the 
luminous body will be the more dissimilar in brightness, one from 
another, as they are nearer to the source of the light. C.A. 150 r. a 

The atmosphere is of itself adapted to gather up instantaneously and 
to leave behind it every image and likeness of whatever body it sees. 

When the sun appears in the eastern horizon it permeates at once the 
whole of our hemisphere and fills it with its luminous semblance. 

All the surfaces of solid bodies turned towards the sun or towards 
the atmosphere illumined by the sun, become clothed and dyed by the 
light of the atmosphere or of the sun. 

Every solid body is surrounded and clothed with light and darkness. 

You will get only a poor perception of the detail of a body when the 
part visible is all the part in shadow, or only the part that is illumined. 

The length of the space which exists between the eye and the solid 


bodies determines how much the part that is illumined increases, and 
that in shadow diminishes. 

The shape of a body cannot be accurately perceived when its 
extremities are bounded by something of the same colour as itself, 
and the eye is between the part in shadow and that in light. 

C.A. 179 r. b 

No separated shadow can reproduce upon a wall the true form of 
the body of which it is the shadow, unless the centre of the light is 
equidistant from the extremities of this body. C.A. 187 v. a 

[Camera Obscura\ 

The boundaries of the images of any colour which penetrate through 
a narrow hole into a dark place will be always of a more powerful 
colour than its centre. C.A. 190 r. b 

Why black painted in juxtaposition with white never seems to show 
itself more black than where it borders upon black, and white does not 
show itself more white in juxtaposition with black than with white; as 
is seen with the images passed through a hole or at the edge of any 
dark obstacle. 

This comes about because the images tinge with their colour the 
spot on which they fall, and when the different images approach the 
same spot they make a blend of their colours, and this blend participates 
more in one colour than in another as the one colour is present in 
greater quantity than the other. 

And the colours are more intense and more sharply defined at their 
edges than in any other part. C.A. 195 v. 


Those who have experience use in all intricate things such as trees, 
meadows, hair, beards and fur, four stages of clearness in order to 
reproduce the same colour; that is, first a dark foundation, second a 
blur which has something of the shape of the part, third a clearer and 
more defined part, fourth the lights more in high parts for movements 
of the figure [P]; 1 it seems however to me that these varieties are 

1 MS., Uumi piit che tdte pctrte tnoti di figttra 


infinite in the case of a continuous quantity, which is in itself divisible 
to infinity, and thus I prove it: 
\Two diagrams] 

Let a g be a continuous quantity and d the light that illumines it* 
I refer now to the fourth which says that that part of the illuminated 
body will be more luminous which is nearer to the source of its illumi- 
nation; g therefore is darker than c in proportion as the line d g is 
longer than the line d c. And from the conclusion that such grades of 
brightness, or if you so prefer of darkness, are not four only, but may 
be conceived of as infinite, because c d is a continuous quantity, and 
every continuous quantity is divisible to infinity, therefore the variety 
in the length of the lines that extend from the luminous to the illumi- 
nated body is infinite; and the proportion of the lights corresponds 
to the lengths of the lines between them, which extend from the centre 
of the luminous body to the part of the object which is illuminated by it. 

C.A. 199 v. a 


If the whole light were what caused the shadows behind the bodies 
placed against it, it would be necessary that that body, which is much 
less than the light, should have a pyramidal shadow behind itself, and 
as experience does not confirm this, it must be that it is the centre of 
the light which performs this function. 



The cannon-ball from the mortar, if it be of uniform substance, and 
its surface be equidistant from its centre, and the fire strikes it in the 
middle, as reason would suggest, must needs take its course without 
any revolution. Seeing that the fire that expels it is of uniform nature, 
it drives equally the air which withstands its course, and as this also is 
equal it offers equal resistance. 


Thus for example, one sees the moon, which is also a spherical body 
and meets with equal resistance, to be much swifter as compared with 


the cannon-ball, but nevertheless the dark spots that are on it never 
change their position, and the fact of this change not appearing, clearly 
confirms the fact that it does not revolve. 


If you look at the sun or other luminous object and then shut your 
eyes, you will see it again in the same form within your eye for a long 
space of time: this is a sign that the images enter within it. 

C.A. 204 r. a 

When the intersection of two columns of shadow produces their 
derived shadows by means of the two luminous ones, it must follow 
that four derived shadows are produced, and these shadows are com- 
posite, and they intersect at four places; and of these intersections there 
are two that form simple shadow, and two are of composite shadow, 
and these two simple shadows are produced where the two lights 
cannot be seen, and the composite shadows are produced where one of 
the two lights cannot illumine. But the intersections of the composite 
shadows are produced always by a single luminous body, and of the 
simple ones by two luminous bodies, and the right intersection of the 
composite shadow is produced by the left light, and the left intersection 
is produced by the right light; but the two intersections of the simple 
shadows, both the upper and the lower, are produced by the two lumi- 
nous bodies, that is the light on the right and the light on the left. 

C.A. 241 r. c 

Many minute lustres continue in the far distance and make them- 
selves perceptible. 



With reference to the light that penetrates the vent holes, it may be 
doubted whether it reconstitutes with the dilatation of its rays as much 
breadth of impression beyond the vent hole as the width of the body 
which is the cause of the rays. 


And in addition to this, whether this dilatation has a power equal to 
that of the luminous body. As regards the first doubt the reply is that 
the dilatation made by the rays after their intersection recreates as much 
breadth beyond the vent hole as in front of the vent hole, there being 
as much space from the luminous body to the vent hole as from the 
vent hole to the impress of its rays; this is proved by the straightness 
of the luminous rays, from which it follows that there is the same 
proportion between their breadth and between the distances at which 
they intersect. 

But power does not proceed in the same proportion; as is proved 
where it is stated: just such proportion exists between the heat and the 
radiance in the different luminous rays as between their distances from 
their source. It is proved therefore that the luminous ray loses in heat 
and radiance in proportion as it is more remote from its luminous 
body. It is true however that the composite shadows, being derived, 
and starting from the edges of these vent holes, break this rule by 
means of their intersections; and this is treated of fully in the second 
book concerning shadow. C.A. 241 r. d 

The rays of the shaded and luminous images intersect after they have 
penetrated within the vent holes, turning in opposite directions every 
part of their thickness. C.A. 241 v. c 

The shadow will never show itself of uniform density in the place of 
its incidence, unless this place be equidistant from the luminous body, 
This is proved by the seventh which says : that shadow will show itself 
lighter or darker which is against a darker or lighter background; by 
the eighth of this : that background will have its parts so much darker 
or lighter as it is more remote from or nearer to the luminous body; 
and among the positions at an equal distance from the luminous body 
that will show itself more illuminated which receives the Inminnns 
rays at more equal angles. No matter with what inequality of position a 
shadow is defined, it will always show itself with its true boundaries 
equal to the shaded body if the eye rests upon the centre of the lumi- 
nous body. 

That shadow will show itself darker that is more remote from its 
shaded body. C.A. 241 v. d 


The image of the sun is all in all the parts of the objects upon which 
its rays fall, and all in each particular part. 

Why in the far distance a radiance which is long will appear round 
to us, and the horns of the moon do not follow this rule, and yet the 
light near by follows as its point indicates. C.A. 243 r. a 


Having, as I think, sufficiently treated of the natures and different 
characteristics of primary and derived shadows, and the manner of 
their incidence, it seems to me that the time has now come to explain 
the different results upon the various surfaces which are touched by 
these shadows. 


It seems to me that the shadows are of supreme importance in 
perspective, seeing that without them opaque and solid bodies will be 
indistinct, both as to what lies within their boundaries and also as to 
their boundaries themselves, unless these are seen against a background 
differing in colour from that of the substance; and consequently in the 
first proposition I treat of shadows, and say in this connection that 
every opaque body is surrounded and has its surface clothed with 
shadows and lights, and to this I devote the first book. Moreover these 
shadows are in themselves of varying degrees of darkness, because they 
have been abandoned by a varying quantity of luminous rays; and 
these I call primary shadows, because they are the first shadows and so 
form a covering to the bodies to which they attach themselves, and to 
this I shall devote the second book. From these primary shadows there 
issue certain dark rays, which are diffused throughout the air and vary 
in intensity according to the varieties of the primary shadows from 
which they are derived; and consequently I call these shadows derived 
shadows, because they have their origin in other shadows; and of this 
I will make the third book. Moreover these derived shadows in striking 
upon anything create as many different effects as are the different 
places where they strike; and of this I will make the fourth book. And 
since where the derived shadow strikes, it is always surrounded by the 


striking o the luminous rays, it leaps back with these in a reflex stream 
towards its source and meets the primary shadow, and mingles with 
and becomes changed into it, altering thereby somewhat of its nature; 
and to this I will devote the fifth book. In addition to this I will make 
the sixth book to contain an investigation of the many different varieties 
of the rebound of the reflected rays, which will modify the primary 
shadow by as many different colours as there are different points from 
whence these luminous reflected rays proceed. Further I will make the 
seventh division treat of the various distances that may exist between 
the point of striking of each reflected ray and the point from whence 
it proceeds, and of the various different shades of colour which it 
acquires in striking against opaque bodies. C.A. 250 r. a 

In proportion as the luminous body is nearer to the shaded body, it 
throws out more light if the luminous body is greater than the dark 

In proportion as the luminous body is more distant from the shaded 
body and is less than it, it will give more light. 

But in proportion as the luminous body being less than the shaded 
body is more distant from this shaded body it will give more light. 

And if the luminous body being greater than the shaded body is 
moved farther away from the shaded body, the total amount that is 
illuminated will continue to diminish until it is approximately half. 

C.A. 250 v. a 


The actions of compound shadows are always made up of contrary 
movements. That is, that if the concourse of luminous rays before 
arriving at their point of intersection be touched by an opaque body, 
all the shadows of that body which break in upon the upper ray will 
show themselves beyond this point of intersection in the percussion of 
the lower ray, and as the upper ray becomes the lower after the inter- 
section, so the movements which the shaded body makes within this 
upper ray will show themselves of contrary movement after this inter- 
section; and this will reveal itself in the incidence of the compound 
shadow upon the pavement, or on a wall that is struck by the sun or 
other luminous body. 


But if the luminous ray is interrupted by the opaque body some 
distance from its intersection, the percussion of the derived shadow of 
the opaque body will make a movement similar to that o the opaque 

And if these rays are interrupted at the actual point of their inter- 
section, then the shadows of the opaque body will be twofold, and they 
will move with contrary movements one to another before they reach 
the point of union. 

The derived compound shadow is the cause why the percussion of 
the solar ray when passing through any kind of angle does not leave its 
impression on this angle; but portions of ... so much greater or less 
... in proportion as these impressions are more remote from or nearer 
to these angles. C.A. 277 v. a 

The site that is most luminous will vary according to the different 
positions of the eye and the light; and the shadow will always be im- 
movable, for whatever the change it makes, the eye sees it. 

C.A. 322 v. b 

No opaque body can be visible unless it is clothed with a shaded and 
illuminated surface. 

The air and every transparent body becomes a passage from the 
objects to the eye for the images of those bodies which find themselves 
either within or beyond them. 

Derived light should be surrounded by primitive shadow. 

Derived shadow will be surrounded by derived light. 

Derived light should be surrounded, in whole or in part, by primitive 
or derived shadows. 

Every opaque body has its image all in all and all in every part of 
the transparence that surrounds it. C.A. 349 v. d 


Of the shadows where they ought to be dark; where the shadows 
ought to be of a middle degree, and the lights where they ought to be 

Where they are darker. Where there ought to be glimmers and 


reflections, that is lights thrown back in one place, and leaping up again 
in another. 

How lights ought to be so rendered that they draw natural things. 

How natural figures when they have intense light on one side seem 
to be in the deepest shadow on the opposite side. 

How men show a small variation from light to shadow when the 
atmosphere is overcast or the sun is on the point of setting. 

For what reason objects as they recede from the eye are perceived 
poorly and seem to lose clearness of outline, and in the far distance 
appear blue. 

Why things when painted seem greater than they are. 

C.A. 360 r. c 

That light is brightest which has the greatest angle. 
That shadow is darkest which is produced at a most acute angle. 

C.A. 385 v. c 

Primary and derived shadow are deeper when they are caused by 
the light of the candle than by that of the atmosphere. 

The more the derived shadow which is greater enters in the less, the 
more the cause of the less is more luminous than the greater. 

Tr. 24 a 

The edges of the window which are illuminated by two different 
lights of equal radiance will not throw light of equal quality into the 
room. Tr. 25 a 

[With sketch] 

At the window a b the sun enters into the house; this sun will 
increase the size of the window and lessen the shadow of a man, with 
the result that when the said man shall approach this shadow of him- 
self, lost in that which carries the true shape of the window, he will see 
the contact of the shadows lost and confused by the power of the light, 
close themselves up and not suffer the solar rays to pass . . . 

And the shadow made by the man upon the said contact has pre- 
cisely the effect that is represented above. Air. 

[With diagram] 
If you wish to measure a height by the shadow of the sun, take a 


stick which may be one braccio, set it up and wait until the sun makes 
it cast a shadow of two braccia. Then measure immediately the shadow 
of the tower, and if this is one hundred braccia the tower will be fifty; 
and this is a good rule. A 6 r. 

That part of a shaded body which is illuminated will transmit to the 
eye the image of its details more distinctly and more rapidly than that 
which finds itself in shadow. A 20 r. 


Among bodies equal in size and distance that which shines the more 
brightly seems to the eye nearer and larger. c i r. 

The straight edges of bodies will appear broken when they serve as 
boundary of a dark space streaked by the percussion of luminous rays. 


The body illuminated by the solar rays which have passed through 
the thick branches of the trees, will cast as many shadows as is the 
number of the branches interposed between the sun and itself. 

The shaded rays which proceed from a pyramidal shaded body will 
bifurcate when they intersect, and the shadow will be of varying de- 
grees of depth at its points. 

A light which is greater than the point and less than the base of the 
shaded pyramidal body placed in front of it, will cause the shaded body 
to produce at its percussion a bifurcated shadow of varying degrees of 

If a shaded body being smaller than a luminous body casts two 
shadows, and a shaded body the same size as a luminous body or greater 
than it casts one, it follows that the pyramidal body of which part is 
smaller than, part equal to, and part larger than the luminous body, 
will cast a bifurcated shadow. . car. 

The body that receives the solar rays which have passed between the 
minute ramifications of trees at a great distance will have but a single 

If the body, part in shadow and part in light, be of the shape of a per- 
fect sphere, the base of the luminous pyramid will bear the same pro- 


portion to its body as that which the base of the shaded pyramid bears 
to the shaded body. 

In proportion as the percussion made by the convergence of the 
shadow on the opposite wall is more distant from the luminous body 
and nearer the source from which it is derived, so much the darker and 
of more defined contours will it appear. c 2 v. 

That luminous body will appear of less radiance which is surrounded 
by a more luminous background: 

I have found that those stars that are nearest the horizon appear 
larger in form than the others, because they see and are seen by a 
greater amount of the solar body than when they are above us; and 
since they see more of the sun they have a greater light. And the body 
that is most luminous shows itself of greater form, as the sun shows 
itself in the mist above us, for it seems larger when it is without mist 
and with the mist it diminishes. 

No part of the luminous body is ever visible from the pyramid of 
pure derived shadow. c 3 r. 

\Mov ement of $hadows\ 

If the object is moved slowly before the luminous body and the per- 
cussion of the shadow of this object is remote from its object, the move- 
ment of the derived shadow will have the same proportion with the 
movement of the primary, as the space between the object and the light 
has with that between the object and the percussion of the shadow, so 
that when the object moves slowly the shadow is rapid. c 3 v. 

That part of the reflection will be brightest in which the reflected 
rays are shortest. 

The darkness caused by a number of shadows intersecting will be in 
conformity with their cause, which has its beginning and end between 
smooth surfaces near to each other, of the same quality and directly 
opposite to each other. 

In proportion as the luminous body is greater the course of the 
luminous and shadow rays will be more mingled together. 

This comes about because where the larger number of luminous rays 
are found, there is most light, and where a lesser number, less light, 
from which it comes about that the shadow rays enter and mingle with 
them. c 4 r. 


That part of the surface of bodies on which the images of the bodies 
placed opposite, fall at the largest angle will be tinged most with their 

The most luminous part of the illuminated body which encompasses 
the percussion of the shadow will be that which is nearest to this per- 

Just as a thing touched by a greater mass of luminous rays becomes 
brighter, so that will become darker which is struck by a greater mass 
of shadow rays. c 4 v. 

A luminous body will seem more brilliant when it is surrounded by 
deeper shadow. 

The breadth and length of shadow and light, although through fore- 
shortening they become straighter and shorter, will neither diminish nor 
increase the quality or quantity of their brightness or darkness. 

The function of shadow and of light diminished by foreshortening, 
will be to shade and illumine an object opposite to it, according to the 
quality and quantity that appear in this object. 

The more a derived shadow approaches its penultimate extremities 
the deeper it will appear. c 5 r. 


If you cause the rays of the sun to pass through a small hole of the 
shape of a star you will see beautiful effects of perspective in the per- 
cussion caused by the passage of the sun. c 7 r. 


The forms of shadows are three: for if the substance which casts the 
shadow is equal in size to the light, the shadow is like a column which 
has no end; if the substance is greater than the light, its shadow is like 
a pyramid which grows larger as it recedes and of which the length has 
no end; but if the substance is smaller than the light the shadow 
resembles a pyramid and comes to an end, as is seen in the eclipses of 
the moon. c 7 v. 



The shape of a luminous body although it has length will at a great 
distance seem round. 

This is shown by the flame of the candle, which although it is long 
seems round at a great distance; and the same thing may happen with 
the stars, for even if they were horned like the moon they would seem 
round by reason of their great distance. c 8 r. 

Among bodies equal in size and length and equal also in form and 
depth of shade, that will appear the smaller which is surrounded by a 
more luminous background. 

A shaded body placed between equal lights will cast as many shadows 
as there are lights, shadows of which one will be darker than the others 
as the light situated on the opposite side is nearer this body than the 

A shaded body equidistant between two lights will cast two shadows, 
one darker than the other in proportion as one of the lights which cause 
them is greater than the other. c 8 v. 

The places occupied by the shadows caused by a small luminous body 
are, as regards size, similar and corresponding to those of which the 
visual rays are cut off. 

And when the luminous ray has passed through a small hole and 
been broken upon some opposing object near at hand, the impress of its 
percussion resembles more the hole through which it has passed than 
the luminous body from which it proceeds. c 9 r. 

The greater the radiance of the luminous body the deeper will be 
the shadows cast by the bodies it illuminates. 

All the shaded bodies that are larger than the pupil, which interpose 
between the eye and the luminous body, will show themselves dark. 

If the eye be placed between the luminous body and the bodies 
illuminated by this light, it will see these bodies without any shadow. 

c 10 r. 

When a luminous ray has passed through a hole of some unusual 
shape after a long course, the impression it makes where it strikes 
resembles the luminous body from which it springs. 


It is impossible for the ray born o a luminous spherical body to be 
able, after a long course, to convey to where it strikes the image of any 
description of angle that exists in the angular hole through which it 
passes. c 10 v. 

The shape of the derived shadow will always conform to the shape of 
the original shadow. 

A light in the form of a cross thrown on to a shaded body of spherical 
roundness will produce its shadow in the figure of a cross, c n r. 

That boundary of the derived shadow is darker which is surrounded 
by a brighter derived light. c n v. 

Of things equal in respect of size, brightness, background and length, 
that which has the smoothest surface will seem largest. 

Iron of uniform thickness half of which is heated serves as a proof, 
for the part that is heated appears larger than the remainder, c 12 r. 

[Of broken shadow\ 

The derived shadow which has as its origin and cause a spherical 
shaded and luminous body, and is broken by the percussion made by 
it upon different bodies situated at varying degrees of distance, will 
appear round to the eye that is in front of it situated near to the centre 
of the original shadow. 

A shaded body of spherical rotundity will cast a circular shadow 
blended [of light and shade] when it has a shaded body of its own 
substance interposed between it and the sun. c 12 v. 

Among shadows of equal quality that nearest the eye will appear 
least dark. 

That shadow will be darker which is derived from a greater number 
of different shaded and luminous bodies. 

It is impossible that simple derived shadows, which spring from dif- 
ferent bodies and are caused by a single light, can ever join or touch 
each other. c 13 v. 

[When adjacent bodies will appear separated] 

If many shaded bodies, so near to each other as to be almost touch- 
ing, are seen against a luminous background at a great distance, they 
will seem separated by a great space. c 14 r. 


[When separated bodies will appear adjacent} 

If many luminous bodies are seen in a distant landscape, although 
they may be separated one from another, they will appear united and 
joined together. 

That part of the air will participate most in its natural darkness 
which is smitten by the sharpest luminous angle. It is clearly to be 
understood that where there is a smaller luminous angle there is less 
light, because the pyramid of this angle has a smaller base, and there- 
fore from this smaller base a lesser number of luminous rays con- 
verge at its point. 


Darkness is the absence of light. 

Shadow is the diminution of light. 

Primitive shadow is that which is attached to shaded bodies. 

Derived shadow is that which separates itself from shaded bodies 
and travels through the air. 

Repercussed shadow is that which is surrounded by an illuminated 

The simple shadow is that which does not see any part of the light 
which causes it. 

The simple shadow commences in the line which parts it from the 
boundaries of the luminous bodies. c 14 v. 

Rays doubled by intersection in lights and shadows are also of dou- 
ble clearness or obscurity: 

Primitive light and derived reflected light, when they surround thick 
and spherical bodies, become the cause of the boundaries of the primi- 
tive shadows of these bodies, being so much more distinct and de- 
fined in the part near to the lights as the derived light is clearer than 
the primitive. 

That is said to be primitive light which first lights up shaded bodies, 
and that is called derived which leaps back from these bodies in those 
parts which are remote from this primitive light. 

That part of the primitive shadow will be more luminous which can 
see more equally the centres of the derived lights. 

One may clearly know that that part of the shaded bodies which is 


seen by a greater quantity is the more luminous, and especially if it is 
illumined by two lights; as is seen with reflected lights which put in 
their midst the derived shadow made between them by the dense 
bodies opposite. 

Every luminous body illumines with its whole and with its part the 
part and the whole of the object turned to face it. 

This proposition is very evident, for one cannot deny that where 
the whole pupil of the eye is looking, there every part of it is looking, 
and the place seen by this pupil acts in the same way towards it. 

c 16 v. 

The middle of the length of each derived shadow is in a straight 
line with the middle of the primitive shadow and of the derived light, 
and the centres of the shaded and luminous bodies. 

This necessarily happens, since as the luminous lines are straight, 
those which pass by the extremities of the shaded bodies enclose within 
their concourse all that air which through the intervention of this 
shaded body cannot see the luminous body, and for this reason it be- 
comes dark. As the body is equally enclosed the parts of the shadow 
become equal in respect to its centre, because all the parts of shaded 
bodies are also equidistant from their centre, and so every body has a 
centre in itself. 

As the above-named luminous lines are in contact with each ex- 
tremity of the thing enclosed within them, they are equidistant from 
the middle of the length of any object that they enclose. 

That part of the primitive and derived shadow will be so much less 
dark as it is more distant from its centre. 

This comes about because the more the shadow separates from its 
centre the more it is seen by a greater quantity of luminous rays, and 
every man knows that where there is more light there is less shadow. 

c 17 r. 


If the sun is seen by all the seas which have the day, all these seas 
are seen by the sun. Therefore all the illumined water makes itself the 
mirror of the sun; and by its image all in the whole of this water and 
all in a part it appears to the eye. I ask therefore why when a ship is 


travelling and the sun sees itself, the eye does not see the sea all 
illumined, and why it does not always seem that the sun is travelling 
along the pathway of the boat. 


The sun makes as many pyramids as there are holes and crevices by 
which it can penetrate with its rays, and as many as the eyes of the 
animated beings that look upon it. Therefore as the sun finds itself 
always the base of each pyramid, the sun mirrored in the water seems 
to the eye to be as much beneath the water as it is outside it, and this 
sun thus reflected forms the base of the pyramid which ends in the 
eye. And this reflected sun will appear as great as the section of the 
pyramid cut by the surface of the water at a n [figure]. c 17 v. 

Although the shaded and luminous body be of spherical rotundity 
and equal size, nevertheless its derived shadow will not resemble the 
rotundity of the body from which it proceeds, but will be of elongated 
shape if it falls within unequal angles. c 18 r. 

[Of the shapes of shadows} 

The shapes of shadows often resemble the shaded body which is 
their origin, and often the luminous body which is their cause. 

If the shape and size of the luminous body are like that of the 
shaded body, the primitive and derived shadows will have the shape 
and size of these bodies, falling within equal angles. 

The derived shadow at a certain distance will never resemble the 
shape of the shaded body from which it proceeds, unless the shape of 
the light from this illuminating body resembles the shape of the body 
illuminated by the said light. 

Light that is long in shape will cause the derived shadow born from 
a round body to be wide and low, although it makes its percussion 
between equal angles. 

It is impossible that the shape of the derived shadow should resemble 
that of the shaded body from which it was born, unless the light that 
causes it is similar in shape and size to this shaded body. c 18 v. 

There will be as much difference in the darkness of two partially 
shaded rays as between the shadow that results from their blending 
and its first condition. 


It is impossible that from the blending of two complete shadows 
there should ensue a shadow darker in degree. 

It is possible that from the blending of two incomplete shadows may 
result a perfect shadow darker in degree than any of the former* 

c 19 r. 

Universally all the points that form the extreme points of the pyra- 
midal images of things are continually all in all the air, united and 
joined together without any intermission. 

Necessity causes that nature ordains or has ordained that in all 
points of the air all the images of the things opposite to them con- 
verge, by the pyramidal concourse of the rays that have emanated from 
these things; and if it were not so the eye would not discern in every 
point of the air that is between it and the thing seen, the shape and 
quality of the thing facing it. 

That pyramid which proceeds from its base with more unequal 
angles will be narrower, and will give a less accurate impression of 
the true width of the base. 

Among the many pyramids that are founded upon a single base that 
will be more powerful which is larger, and that will be larger which 
has the angles of its base more equal one to the other. c 20 r. 

The less the brightness of the derived as compared with that of the 
original light, the less will its pyramids illumine the spot on which 
they strike. 

The pyramids will illumine the spot on which they strike the less 
as their angles are finer. c 20 v. 

The farther the derived shadow extends from the primitive the 
brighter it becomes. 

Such proportion as the diameter of the derived shadow has to that 
of the primitive, you will find between the darkness of the primitive 
shadow and that of the derived. 

If the size of the illuminating body should surpass that of the body 
which is illumined, it will form an intersection of shadow, beyond 
which the divided shadows will pass off in two different directions, a* 
though they derived from two different lights. 

1 Words crossed out in MS. 


That part of the derived shadow will be darker which is nearer to its 

The above proposition holds good because, where the larger lumi- 
nous angle is united to the narrower shaded angle, this luminous angle 
subdues it and almost changes it to its luminous nature. And so it is 
presumed that, where the larger shaded angle is united with the nar- 
rower luminous angle, the shaded will almost transform to its own 
nature the luminous that is joined to it. c 21 r. 

Of things which are the same in size and colour that which is farther 
away will seem lighter and less in bulk. 

The percussion of the derived shadow is always surrounded by 
shadow that melts into the luminous background. 

That part of the shaded body which is struck by the largest luminous 
angle will be more illuminated than any other. c 21 v. 

When there are several bodies of equal size which are equally dis- 
tant from the eye, that will appear the smaller which is against a more 
luminous background. 

Every visible body is surrounded by light and shade. 

Every perfecdy round body when surrounded by light and shade 
will seem to have one of its sides greater than the other, in proportion 
as the one is more lighted than the other. c 24 r. 

If the visual line that sees the shadow made by the light of the 
candle has an angle equal to that of the shadow, the shadow will 
almost seem to function beneath the body that causes it, as does the 
image of the bodies reflected by the water, for they are as much visi- 
ble beneath it as above. Even so this shadow will so function that its 
extremity will appear to be as far below the surface on which it is 
produced, as the summit of the body which causes it is above this 
surface^ as is seen on a wall. c 25 r. 


The eye that finds itself between the light and shade which surround 
opaque bodies, will see there the shadow separated from the luminous 
part pass transversely through the centre of this body. 


When two objects are seen within the above-mentioned visual pyra- 
mids, in such a way as not to fall short o or protrude beyond these 
lines, although there be a great intervening space between them, this 
distance, nevertheless, will never be capable of being seen or recognised 
by the eye. 

The greater the distance between the above-named bodies enclosed 
within visual pyramidal lines, the more necessary is it that there be a 
proportionate lack of conformity between them. c 27 r. 


The first of the lights with which opaque bodies are illumined is 
called particular, and it is the sun or other light from a window or 
flame. The second is universal, as is seen in cloudy weather or in mist 
or the like. The third is the composite, that is when the sun in the 
evening or the morning is entirely below the horizon. E 3 v. 

Among bodies in varying degrees of darkness deprived of the same 
light, there will be the same proportion between their shadows as there 
is between their natural degrees of darkness, and you have to under- 
stand the same of their lights. E 15 r. 


You will note in drawing how among shadows some are indistin- 
guishable in gradation and form; and this is proved by the fifth which 
says: spherical surfaces have as many different degrees of light and 
shadow as there are varieties of brightness and darkness reflected from 
the objects round them. 

That part of an opaque body will be more in shadow or more in 
light which is nearer to the dark body which shades it, or to the 
luminous body which gives it light. 

The surface of every opaque body partakes of the colour of its ob- 
ject, but the impression is greater or less in proportion as this object 
is nearer or more remote, and of greater or less power. 

Objects seen between light and shadow will appear in greater relief 
than those which are in the light or in the shadow. E 17 r. 


In the position o the eye which sees illuminated such part of plants 
as behold the light, one plant will never appear illuminated like the 
other. This is proved as follows: let c be the eye that beholds the 
two plants b d which are illuminated by the sun a\ I affirm that this 
eye c will not perceive the lights in the same proportion to their 
shadows in the one tree as in the other; for the tree that is nearer to 
the sun will show itself more in shadow than that farther away, in 
proportion as the one tree is nearer than the other to the concourse of 
the solar rays which come to the eye. 

When a tree is seen from below, the eye sees the top of it set within 
the circle formed by its branches. 

Remember, O painter, that the degrees of depth of shade in one 
particular species of tree vary as much as the sparseness or density of 
its ramifications. E 18 v. 


As regards the equal diffusion of light, there will be the same pro- 
portion between the degrees of obscurity of the shadows produced, as 
there is between the degrees of obscurity of the colours to which these 
shadows are joined. 


The movement of the shadow is always more rapid than the move- 
ment of the body which produces it, if the luminous body be station- 
ary. This may be proved: let a be the luminous, b the shaded body, d 
the shadow. I say that the shaded body b moves to c in the same time 
as the shadow d moves to <?, and there is the same proportion of speed 
to speed over the same time as there is of length of movement to 
length of movement. Therefore the proportion of the length of the 
movement made by the shaded body b as far as c, to the length of the 
movement made by the shadow d as far as e, is such as the above- 
mentioned speeds of movement have to each other. 

But if the luminous body be equal in speed to the movement of the 
shaded body, then the shadow and the shaded body will be of equal 
movements one to another. And if the luminous be swifter than the 


shaded body, then the movement of the shadow will be slower than the 
movement of the shaded body. 

But if the luminous is slower than the shaded body then the shadow 
will be swifter than the shaded body. E 30 v. 


The pyramidal shadow produced by the parallel body will be nar- 
rower than the shaded body, in proportion as the simple derived 
shadow is intersected at a greater distance from its shaded body. 


The simple derived shadows are of two kinds, that is to say one 
finite in length and two infinite. The finite is pyramidal, and of those 
that are infinite one is columnar and the other expanding. And all 
three have straight sides, but the convergent, that is the pyramidal 
shadow, proceeds from a shaded body that is less than the luminous 
body, the columnar proceeds from a shaded body equal to the lumi- 
nous body, and the expanding from a shaded body greater than the 
luminous body. 


Compound derived shadows are of two kinds, that is, columnar and 
expanding. E 31 r. 


The difference that exists between light and lustre that reveals itself 
on the smooth surface of opaque bodies: The lights that are pro- 
duced on the smooth surfaces of opaque bodies will be stationary in 
stationary bodies, although the eye which sees them moves; but there 
will be lustres upon the same bodies in as many points of its surface 
as are the positions upon which the eye rests. 

Which bodies are those that have light without lustre? 

Opaque bodies which have a thick rough surface will never produce 
lustre in any portion o their illuminated part. 


Which bodies are those that have lustre and have no illuminated 

Thick, opaque bodies, with smooth surface, are those which have all 
the lustre in as many places, in the illuminated part, as there are posi- 
tions that can receive the angle of the incidence of the light and of the 
eye, but, because such surface reflects all the things that surround 
the light, the illuminated body is not distinguishable in this part of 
the illuminated background. 

A luminous body of long shape will make the contours of its derived 
shadow more indistinct than light that is spherical, and this it is that 
controverts the following proposition: that shadow will have its con- 
tours more distinct which is nearer the primitive shadow, or if you 
prefer, the shaded body, but of this the long shape of the luminous body 
is the cause. E 31 v. 


Derived shadows are of three kinds, of which one is expanding, 
another in the form of a column, the third converging at the point of 
the intersection of its sides which continue beyond in infinite length 
and straightness. And if you should say that this shadow is terminated 
in the angle formed by the meeting of its sides and does not pass be- 
yond, this is controverted by the fact that, in the first concerning 
shadows, it was proved that a thing is entirely ended when no part of 
it exceeds its terminating lines; and, in the case of this shadow, one sees 
the contrary, inasmuch as where this derived shadow originates, there 
there are manifestly created the figures of two shaded pyramids which 
meet at their angles. If however as the adversary says, the first shaded 
pyramid terminates the derived shadow with its angle, from whence 
does the second shaded pyramid proceed? The adversary says that it is 
caused by the angle and not by the shaded body, but this is denied by 
the help of the second of this, which says: the shadow is an accident 
created by the shaded bodies interposed between the position of this 
shadow and the luminous body. 

Thus it has become clear that the shadow is not produced by the 
angle of the derived shadow but only by the shaded body. 

If a spherical shaded body is illumined by an elongated luminous 
body, the shadow that is produced by the longest part of this luminous 


body will have its contours less defined than that produced by the 
breadth o the same light. And this is proved by what was said before, 
namely that that shadow is of less defined contours which is created by 
a greater luminous body, and conversely that shadow is of more defined 
contours 1 which is lit by a smaller luminous body. 

Broken shadows is the term given to those which are seen on a 
bright wall or other luminous object. 

That shadow will seem the darker which is against a lighter ground. 

The contours of the derived shadows will be more distinct when 
they are nearer to the primitive shadow. 

The derived shadow will have the contours of its impress more 
distinct when they cut against the wall within more equal angles. 

That part of the same shadow will seem darker which has over 
against it darker objects; and that will seem less dark which is facing a 
brighter object. And the bright object when it is larger will shine more 

And that dark object which is of greater bulk will darken the derived 
shadow most in the place of its percussion. E 32 r. 

The surface of every opaque body shares in the colour of surround- 
ing objects. 

Shadow is the diminution of light. Darkness is the exclusion of light. 

Shadow is divided into two parts, of which the first is called primary 
shadow and the second derived shadow. 

Primary shadow always serves as a basis for derived shadow. 

The boundaries of derived shadows are straight lines. 

The darkness of the derived shadow diminishes in proportion as it is 
farther removed from primary shadow. 

That shadow will show itself darker which is surrounded by more 
dazzling brightness, and it will be less evident when it is produced on 
a darker ground. 

Particular light has as a result that it gives better relief to shaded 
bodies than does universal light; as may be shown by the comparison 
of the part of a landscape lit by the sun and that shaded by a cloud 
which is lit merely by the universal light of the air. E 32 v. 

The surface of every opaque body partakes of the colour of its object. 

1 MS., di termini men nott. 


That part o the surface o the opaque bodies partakes most of the 
colour of its object which is nearest to it. F i v. 

That part of a dark object of uniform thickness will show itself 
thinner which is seen against a more luminous background. 

That part of a luminous body of uniform thickness and radiance 
will seem thicker which is seen against a darker background. 

F 22 r. 

The ray of the sun after having passed through the bubbles of the 
surface of the water, sends to the bottom of the water an image of this 
bubble which bears the form of a cross. I have not yet investigated the 
cause, but I judge it to be a result of other small bubbles which are 
clustered together round the larger bubble. F 28 v. 

A luminous hole seen from a dark place, though it be of uniform 
size, will seem to contract considerably when near to any object what- 
ever that is interposed between the eye and this hole. 

This statement is proved by the seventh of this, which shows that 
the contours of any object interposed between the eye and the light will 
never be seen distinctly, but confused through the air becoming darker 
near these contours, this darkness becoming more intense the nearer it 
is to these contours. F 31 r. 

Two separated lights will at a certain distance appear joined and 

In this case it has been held by many who have made a study of 
perspective, that the air that surrounds these lights at a great distance is 
so illuminated that it seems of the nature of these lights, and therefore 
the light and air that surround them appear to be the same body. 

What they say is not true, for if it were the case that the air that 
surrounds these lights at a great distance was so illuminated as to 
appear all uniformly luminous, this would be more readily discerned 
near at hand where the exact shape of the light is known than it would 
be at a distance, and if, in becoming separated, the perception of the 
exact shape of this light is lost because it suffers a slight decrease in its 
radiance, how much more would be the diminution and loss of that 
radiance of the air, which is much less effulgent than the light! 


We shall prove therefore that this increase is caused by two images 
in the eye. 

The excessive brilliance of the light when near to the eye diminishes 
the visual faculty, seeing that the pupil being hurt contracts and so 
makes itself less, and as the light becomes more separated the injury 
to the eye ceases to exist, because the light has less brilliance, and so 
the pupil increases and sees a greater light. F 35 v. 

If there are two luminous bodies somewhat near to each other at a 
great distance they will seem united: 

This can happen for two reasons, of which the first is that in being 
near to these lights one knows instantly the distance or space that 
separates them, and the images of them that imprint themselves in our 
eye are still very distinct, and on the other hand their rays do not touch, 
whilst at a long distance these images look so near that not only their 
rays but the luminous bodies seem to touch. 

Further, at this distance the pupil which at first was contracted 
becomes enlarged, because the brilliance of the light is not as powerful 
as when it was near the eye, and so the eye increasing the size of its 
pupil sees a thing appearing enlarged. 

If all the images were to meet in an angle they would meet in a 
mathematical point, and this being indivisible all the different kinds 
would seem to you united; being united the sense would not be able 
to discern any difference. F 36 r. 

If some luminous body can be seen through a very small hole made 
in a piece of paper, approach the luminous body as nearly as possible 
with the eye; even though it still may be seen in its entirety it will 
seem so much less than before as this hole is of less size. F 36 v. 

If the shape of the waves were in the figure of a half-circle, as are 
the bubbles of the water, the converging lines of the images of the sun, 
which emanate from these waves and come to the eye, would be of a 
very great angle, if this eye were upon the edge of the sea that comes 
between it and the sun. F 62 v. 

Why does every luminous object that is of long shape appear round 
in the far distance? 
It is never a perfect round, but it happens with it as with the leaden 


die when beaten and much crushed that it appears round in shape. 
So this light at a great distance acquires such breadth in every direction, 
for as that which had been added is equal, and the first stock of light 
goes for nothing in comparison to what is added, the acquisition makes 
it appear uniformly round. 

And this serves to prove that the horns of every star are imperceptible 
at a great distance. * 64 r. 


The lights which illumine opaque bodies are of four kinds, that is 
to say, universal, as that of the atmosphere within our horizon, and 
particular, like that of the sun or of a window or door or other space; 
and the third is reflected light; and there is also a fourth which passes 
through substances of the degree of transparency of linen or paper or 
suchlike things, but not those transparent like glass or crystal or other 
diaphanous bodies, with which the effect is the same as if there was 
nothing interposed between the body in shadow and the light that 
illumines it; and of these we shall treat separately in our discourse. 

[Transparency of leaves] 

The shadows in transparent leaves seen from the underside are the 
same shadows as those on the right side of this leaf, and the shadow is 
seen in transparency on the reverse at the same time as the luminous 
part; but the lustre can never show itself in transparency. G 3 v. 

Of trees seen from below and against the light, one behind the other 
at a short distance, the topmost part of the first will be transparent and 
clear in great part, and it will stand out against the dark part of the 
second tree; and so it will be with all in succession which are situated 
under the same conditions. G 6 r. 

The shadows of plants are never black, for where the atmosphere 
penetrates there cannot be utter darkness. G 8 r. 

[Foliage in light] 

If the light comes from m and the eye is at n, this eye will see the 
colour of the leaves a b all affected by the colour of m, that is of the 
atmosphere, and that of b c will be seen on the underside in transpar- 
ency, with a very beautiful green colour that verges on yellow. 


If m is the luminous body which lights up the leaf s, all the eyes that 
see the underside of the leaf will see it of a very beautiful light green 
because it is transparent. 

There will be many occasions when the positions of the leaves will 
be without shadows, and they will have the underside transparent and 
the right side shining. G 8 v. 

The willow and other similar trees which are pollarded every third 
or fourth year put out very straight branches. Their shadow is towards 
the centre where these branches grow, and near their extremities they 
cast but litde shade because of their small leaves and few and slender 

Therefore the branches which rise towards the sky will have but 
litde shadow and little relief, and the branches which point downwards 
towards the horizon spring from the dark part of the shadow. And they 
become clearer by degrees down to their extremities, and show them- 
selves in strong relief being in varying stages of brightness against a 
background of shadow. 

That plant will have least shadow which has fewest branches and 
fewest leaves. G 9 r. 

The leaf of concave surface seen on the underside from below up- 
ward, will sometimes show itself half in shadow and half transparent. 
Thus let o p be the leaf, m the light and n the eye which will see o in 
shadow, because the light does not strike there between equal angles 
either on the right side or on the reverse; p is lit up on the right side, 
and its light is seen in transparency on its reverse. c 10 v. 


When you represent the dark shadows in shaded bodies, represent 
always the cause of the darkness, and you should do the same for 
reflections; this is because the dark shadows proceed from dark objects 
and the reflections from objects of but litde brightness, that is from 
diminished lights. And there is the same proportion between the illumi- 
nated part of bodies and the part lit by reflection as there is between 
the cause of the light on the bodies and the cause of the reflection. 

G II V. 



That part of the tree will be seen to be clothed in shadows of least 
obscurity which is farthest away from the earth. 

This may be proved: let a p be the tree, n b c the illuminated hemi- 
sphere. The under part of the tree faces the earth f c, that is on the side 
o, and it faces a small part of the hemisphere at c d. But the highest 
part of the convexity a is visible to the greatest mass of the hemisphere, 
that is b c\ and for this reason, and because it does not face the darkness 
of the earth, it remains more illuminated. But if the tree is one thick 
with leaves, as the laurel, the arbutus, the box or the ilex, then it is 
different, for though a does not see the earth it sees the darkness of the 
leaves divided by many shadows, and this darkness is reflected upwards 
on to the undersides of the leaves above; and these trees have the 
shadows so much darker as they are nearer to the centre of the tree. 

G 12 r. 


When drawing any object, remember in comparing the potency of 
the lights of its illuminated portions, that the eye is often deceived into 
thinking one brighter than it really is. The reason springs from our 
comparing them with the parts which border on them, for if there are 
two parts of unequal degrees of brightness, and the less bright borders 
on a dark part while the brighter is set against a light background, such 
as the sky or some similar bright surface, then that which is less bright, 
or I should say less radiant, will appear more radiant and what was 
more radiant will seem darker. G 12 v. 


The painter deceives himself many times in representing the prin- 
cipal lights. G 13 r. 

Of representing an arrangement of bodies which receives the par- 
ticular light of the sun or of another luminous body for its illumina* 
tion. G 15 r. 



When the sun is in the east and the eye is above the centre of a city, 
the eye will see the southern part of this city with its roofs half in 
shadow and half in light, and the same towards the north; but those 
in the east will be entirely in shadow and those in the west entirely in 
light o 19 v. 


The outlines and forms of each part of bodies in shadow are poorly 
distinguished in their shadows and lights, but in such parts as are 
between the lights and shadows parts of these bodies are of the first 
degree of distinctness. G 32 r. 


Take careful note of the situation of your figures, for you will have 
the light and shade different if the object is in a dark place with a 
particular light, and if it is in a bright place with the direct light of the 
sun, and different also if it is in a dark place with the diffused light of 
evening or in dull weather, and if it is in the diffused light of the 
atmosphere lit by the sun. G 33 v. 

That part of the primary shadow will be least dark which is at the 
farthest distance from its extremities. 

The derived shadow which borders on the primary shadow will be 
darker than this primary shadow. H 66 [18] r. 

That place will be most luminous which is farthest away from moun- 
tains. H 68 [20] r. 

The derived shadow is never like the body from which it proceeds, 
unless the light is of the shape and size of the body in shadow. 

The derived shadow cannot be like the primitive in shape unless it 
strikes within equal angles. H 76 [28] v. 




Because the luminous ray is of pyramidal power, and especially 
when the atmosphere is uniform, it will come about that when two 
rays emanating from equal lights meet in a straight line, the ray will 
be everywhere doubled and of uniform power; for where one has the 
apex of the pyramid the other has its base, as n m shows. i 33 r. 

The imprint of the shadow of any body of uniform thickness will 
never resemble the body from whence it proceeds. 

Although a shaded body be pyramidal and equally distant in each 
of its parts from the luminous object, nevertheless that part of the 
pyramid which is smaller than the light that illumines it will not throw 
its shadow any distance from its cause. i 37 v. 


Shadows and lights are observed by the eye under three aspects. One 
of these is when the eye and the light are both on the same side of the 
body which is seen; the second is when the eye is in front of the object 
and the light behind it; and the third is that in which the eye is in 
front of the object and the light at the side, in such a way that when 
the line which extends from the object to the eye meets that which 
extends from the object to the light, they will at their junction * form 
a right angle. K 105 [25] v. 

There is another division, namely that of the nature of the reflected 
object when placed between the eye and the light in different aspects. 

K 106 [26] r. 

\Derived shadow] 

The derived shadow is stronger in proportion as it is nearer to its 

1 MS., cogutio, and so Dr. Richter. M. Ravaisson-Mollien has cognition. 


The same quality of shadow seems stronger in proportion as it is 
nearer to the eye. 

The percussion and section of the derived shadow is darker in pro- 
portion as it is shorter. K in [31] v. 

[Luminous rays] 

That part of the body will be illuminated which is struck by the 
luminous rays at more equal angles. M 77 v. 

The image of the sun will show itself brighter in the small waves 
than in the large ones. This happens because the reflections or images 
of the sun occur more frequently in the small waves than in the large 
ones, and the more numerous brightnesses give a greater light than the 
lesser number. 

The waves which intersect after the manner of the scales of a fir-cone 
reflect the image of the sun with the greatest splendour; and this occurs 
because there are as many images as there are ridges of the waves seen 
by the sun, and the shadows which intervene between these waves are 
small and not very dark; and the radiance of so many reflections is 
blended together in the image which proceeds from them to the eye, 
in such a way that these shadows are imperceptible. B.M. 25 r. 

There are two different kinds of light; the one is called free, the 
other restricted. The free is that which freely illuminates bodies; 
restricted is that which illuminates bodies in the same manner, through 
some hole or window. B.M. 170 v. 

Lights are of two different natures, the one separated and the other 
united to bodies. 

Separated is that which illuminates the body, united is the part of 
the body illuminated by this light; the one light is called primary, the 
other derived. 

And so also there are shadows of two kinds; the one primary the 
other derived. Primary is that which is fastened to bodies, derived is 
that which is separated from bodies, bearing in itself to the surface of 
walls the resemblance of its cause. B.M. 171 r. 

A simple shadow is one which does not see any light. 
A compound shadow is one which is illuminated by one or more 
lights. B.M. 248 v. 


A sieve through which penetrates the luminous air, at a great dis- 
tance will seem without holes and entirely luminous. 

Forster in 35 v. 

Between walls at an equal distance and quality which are seen 
behind the extremities of an opaque body set over against them, that 
part .of the wall will appear more illuminated which is seen by a greater 
amount of the pupil. Forster m 36 r. 

Among things of equal distance and size that which has the greater 
light will seem of greater body. Forster in 42 v. 

If the illuminated object is the size of the thing that illuminates, 
and of that where this light is reflected, the quality of the reflex light 
will have the same proportion to the intermediate light as this second 
light has to the first, if these bodies are smooth and white. 

Forster in 54 r. 

The luminous or illuminated object contiguous to the shadow cuts 
as much as it touches. 

There will be as much lacking in the extremities of the shadows of 
bodies as is touched by the illuminated or luminous field. 

Forster in 87 v. 
[Of shadow] 

Shadow is the diminution of light and of darkness, and it is inter- 
posed between darkness and light. 

Shadow is of infinite obscurity, and this obscurity may be infinitely 

The beginnings and the ends of shadow extend between light and 
darkness, and they may be infinitely diminished and increased. 

Shadow is the expression of bodies and of their shapes. 

The shapes of bodies will convey no perception of their quality 
without shadow. 

Shadow partakes always of the colour of its object. 

Of the boundaries of shadows: some are like smoke, with boundaries 
that cannot be perceived, in others they are distinct. 

Keep the drawings for the end of the [book on] shadows. They may 


be seen in the workshop of Gherardo the miniaturist in San Marco at 

No opaque body is without shadow or light, except when there is a 
mist lying over the ground when it is covered with snow, or it is the 
same when it snows in the country; this will be without light and it 
will be surrounded by darkness. 

And this occurs in spherical bodies, because in the case of other 
bodies which have members, the parts of the members which face each 
other steep each other in the tone of their surface. 

The surface of every body is infused into all the illuminated air 
which serves as its object. 

The surface of opaque bodies has its whole image in all the illu- 
minated air which surrounds it from every quarter. 

Make the rainbow in the last book c On Painting 5 . But first make the 
book of the colours produced by the mixture of the other colours, so 
that by means of these colours used by painters you may be able to 
prove the genesis of the colours of the rainbow. 

Describe how no body is in itself defined in the mirror; but the eye 
on seeing it in this mirror puts boundaries to it; for if you cause your 
face to be represented in the mirror the part is like the whole, seeing 
that the part is all in the whole of the mirror and it is complete in 
every part of the same mirror; and the same happens with every image 
of every object set in front of this mirror. 

The boundaries of the derived shadow are surrounded by the colours 
of the illuminated objects which are round the luminous body, the 
cause of this shadow. 

Derived shadow does not exist without primary light: this is proved 
by the First of this, which states that darkness is the entire privation of 
light, and shadow is the gradual diminution of darkness and of light; 
and it partakes so much the more or the less of darkness than of light 
in proportion as the darkness has been broken up by this light. 

What is the cause which makes the boundaries of the shadow con- 
fused and indistinct. 

Whether it is possible to give the contours of the shadows clear-cut 
and precise boundaries. Quaderni n 6 r. 


[Of luminous bodies] 


Of bodies equal in size and distance that which is most luminous 
tinges most with its essence the opposite object. 

Of bodies of equal luminosity that which is largest in outline tinges 
most of the surface of its object, the distance of all being equal. 

Of bodies which are equal in luminosity and size that which is 
nearest tinges its object most. Quaderni n 16 r. 

The reason why we know that light has in itself a single centre is as 
follows: we recognise clearly that a krge light often outspans a small 
object, which nevertheless, although it surrounds it much more than 
twice with its rays, always has its shadow appearing on the first sur- 
face and it is always visible. 

Let c f be the large light and n the object in front of it which pro- 
duces the shadow on the wall, and a b the wall; it clearly appears that 
it is not the large light that will cast the shadow of n upon the wall; 
but since the light has a centre in itself I prove by experiment the 
shadow is cast upon the wall as is shown at m o t r. [Diagram] 

Why to two or in front of two eyes do three things when represented 
appear as two. 

Why in surveying a direction with two sights the first appears 

I say the eye projects an infinite number of lines, and these attach 
themselves to or mingle with those that come towards it which emanate 
from the things seen, and only the centre line of this perceptive faculty 
is that which knows and judges bodies and colours; all the others are 
false and deceitful. 

And when you place two things at a distance of a cubit one from the 
other, the nearer being close to the eye, the surface of this nearer one 
will remain far more confused than that of the second, the reason being 
that the nearer is overrun by a greater number of false lines than the 
second and so is more uncertain. 

Light acts like this because in the effects of its lines and especially 
in the working of its perspective it is very similar to the eye; and its 


centre ray carries truth in its testing of shadows. When the object 
placed in front of it is too rapidly subdued by dim rays, it will cast a 
shadow broad and disproportionately large and ill defined; but when 
the object that has to produce the shadow cuts the rays of the light and 
is near the place of percussion, then the shadow becomes distinct; and 
this especially when the light is at a distance, because the centre ray at 
a long distance is less interfered with by false rays, seeing that the lines 
of the eye and the solar and other luminous rays proceeding through 
the air are obliged to keep a straight course. Otherwise if they were 
impeded by the atmosphere being denser or more rarefied they would 
remain bent at some point, but if the air is free from heaviness or 
humidity they will observe their straight nature, always carrying back 
to their point of origin the image of the intercepting object, and if it 
is the eye the intercepting object will be estimated by its colour as well 
as by its shape and size. But if the surface of the said interposing object 
shall have within it some small hole that enters into a room dark not 
on account of its colour but through absence of light, you will see the 
rays entering through this small hole transmitting there, to the wall 
beyond, all the traits of their original both as to colour and form, except 
that everything will be inverted. Windsor: Drawings 19148 v. 

The way in which the images of bodies intersect at the edges of the 
small holes by which they penetrate: 

What difference is there between the manner of penetration of the 
images which pass through narrow apertures and those which pass 
through wide ones or those which pass at the sides of shaded bodies. 



The images of the immovable objects move by the moving of the 
edges of that aperture through which the rays of the images penetrate, 
and this comes about by the ninth [section] which says: the images of 
any body are all in all and all in every part of the area that is round 
about them. It follows that the moving of one of the edges of the 
aperture by which these images penetrate to a dark place releases the 


rays of the images that were in contact with it, and they unite with 
other rays of those images which were remote from it. 


If you move the right side of the opening the impression on the left 
will move, being that of the object on the right which entered by this 
opening, and the same will happen with all the other sides of this open- 
ing, and this is proved with the help of the second [section] of this 
[treatise] which says: all the rays which carry the images of bodies 
through the air are straight lines. Therefore as the images of the great- 
est bodies have to pass through the smallest openings, and beyond this 
opening to re-form in their utmost expansion, it is necessary that this 
intersection be uninterrupted. Windsor: Drawings 19149 r. 

The images of bodies are all diffused through the air which sees 
them and all in every part of it. 

This is proved: let a c and <? be objects, of which the images pene- 
trate to a dark place by the small holes n p, and imprint themselves on 
the wall / / opposite to these holes; as many impressions will be made 
at as many different places on this wall as is the number of the said 
small holes. 


All the smallest parts of the images penetrate one another without 
occupation the one of the other. . . . 

. . . the seventh of this where it is said: every simulacrum sends 
forth from itself its images by the shortest line, which of necessity is 
straight. Windsor: Drawings 19150 v. 

Demonstration how every part of light converges in a point. 

Although the balls a b c have their light from one window, never- 
theless if you follow the lines of their shadows you will see that they 
make intersection and point in the angle n. Windsor MS. R 137 


Shadow is light diminished by means of the intervention of an 
opaque body. Shadow is the counterpart of the luminous ray cut off by 
an opaque body. 

This is proved because the shaded ray is of the same shape and size 
as was the luminous ray in which this shadow projects itself. 

Windsor: Drawings 19152 v. 

Demonstration and argument why of parts in light some portions 
are in higher light than others. 

Since it is proved that every light with fixed boundaries emanates 
or appears to emanate from a single point, that part illuminated by it 
will have those portions in highest light upon which the line of radi- 
ance falls, between two equal angles, as is shown above in the lines 
a g, also in a h, and similarly in a /; and that portion of the illuminated 
part will be less luminous upon which the line of incidence strikes at 
two more unequal angles, as may be seen in b c and di and in this 
way you will also be able to discern the parts deprived of light, as may 
be seen at m and !(. 

When the angles made by the lines of incidence are more equal the 
place will have more light, and where they are more unequal it will be 

I will treat further of the cause of the reflection. 

Windsor MS. R 575 


'Perspective is a rational demonstration whereby 

experience confirms how all things transmit their 

images to the eye by pyramidal lines! 

SANDRO! you do not say why these second things seem lower than the 
third. 1 

[Diagram ] 

The eye between two parallel lines will never see them at so great a 
distance that they meet in a point. C.A. 120 r. d 

All the cases of perspective are expressed by means of the five mathe- 
matical terms, to wit: point, line, angle, surface and body. Of these the 
point is unique of its kind, and this point has neither height nor 
breadth, nor length nor depth, wherefore we conclude that it is indivis- 
ible and does not occupy space. A line is of three kinds, namely straight, 
curved and bent, and it has neither breadth, height nor depth, conse- 
quently it is indivisible except in its length; its ends are two points. 

An angle is the ending of two lines in a point, and they are of three 
kinds, namely right angles, acute angles and obtuse angles. 

Surface is the name given to that which is the boundary of bodies, 
and it is without depth, and in such depth as it has it is indivisible as is 
the line or point, being divided only in respect of length or breadth. 
There are as many different kinds of surfaces as there are bodies that 
create them. 

Body is that which has height, breadth, length and depth, and in 
all these attributes it is divisible. These bodies are of infinite and varied 
forms. The visible bodies are of two kinds only, of which the first is 

1 Fragment probably of a discussion with Botticelli concerning the law of diminishing 
perspective. References to Sandro [Botticelli] arc also to be found in C.A. 313 r. b, p. 555, 
and Trattato (Ludwig) 60. 



without shape or any distinct or definite extremities, and these though 
present are imperceptible and consequently their colour is difficult to 
determine. The second kind of visible bodies is that o which the 
surface defines and distinguishes the shape. 

The first kind, which is without surface, is that of those bodies which 
are thin or rather liquid, and which readily melt into and mingle with 
other thin bodies, as mud with water, mist or smoke with air, or the 
element of air with fire, and other similar things, the extremities of 
which are mingled with the bodies near to them, whence by this inter- 
mingling their boundaries become confused and imperceptible, for 
which reason they find themselves without surface, because they enter 
into each other's bodies, and consequently such bodies are said to be 
without surface. 

The second kind is divided into two other kinds, namely transparent 
and opaque. The transparent is that which shows its whole self along 
the whole of its side, and nothing is hidden behind it, as is the case 
with glass, crystal, water and the like. The second division of bodies 
of which the surface reveals and defines the shape is called opaque. 

This it behoves us to treat of at some length, seeing that out of it are 
derived an infinite number of cases. C.A. 132 r. b 


The air is full of an infinite number of images of the things which 
are distributed through it, and all of these are represented in all, all in 
one, and all in each. Consequently it so happens that if two mirrors be 
placed so as to be exactly facing each other, the first will be reflected 
in the second and the second in the first. Now the first being reflected 
in the second carries to it its own image together with all the images 
which are represented in it, among these being the image of the second 
mirror; and so they continue from image to image on to infinity, in 
such a way that each mirror has an infinite number of mirrors within 
it, each smaller than the kst, and one inside another. 

By this example, therefore, it is clearly proved that each thing trans- 
mits the image of [itself] to all those places where the thing itself is 
visible, and so conversely this object is able to receive into itself all the 
images of the things which are in front of it. 


Consequently the eye transmits its own image through the air to all 
the objects which are in front o it, and receives them into itself, that is 
on its surface, whence the understanding takes them and considers 
them, and such as it finds pleasing, these it commits to the memory. 

So I hold that the invisible powers of the images in the eyes may 
project themselves forth to the object as do the images of the object to 
the eye. 

An instance of how the images of all things are spread through the 
air may be seen in a number of mirrors placed in a circle, and they will 
then reflect each other for an infinite number of times, for as the image 
of one reaches another it rebounds back to its source, and then becom- 
ing less rebounds yet again to the object, and then returns, and so con- 
tinues for an infinite number of times. 

If at night you place a light between two flat mirrors which are 
a cubit's space apart, you will see in each of these mirrors an infinite 
number of lights, one smaller than another, in succession. 

If at night you place a light between the walls of a [room], every 
part of these walls will become tinged by the images of this light, and 
all those parts which are exposed to the light will likewise be directly 
lit by it; that is when there is no obstacle between them to interrupt 
the transmission of the images. 

This same example is even more apparent in the transmission of 
solar rays, which all [pass] through all objects, and consequently into 
each minutest part of each object, and each ray of itself conveys to its 
object the image of its source. 

That each body alone of itself fills the whole surrounding air with 
its images, and that this same air is [able] at the same time to receive 
into itself the images of the countless other bodies which are within it, 
is clearly shown by these instances; and each body is seen in its entirety 
throughout the whole of the said atmosphere, and each in each 
minutest part of the same, and all throughout the whole of it and all in 
each minutest part; each in all, and all in every part C.A. 138 r. b 


The true knowledge of the form of an object becomes gradually lost 
in proportion as distance decreases its size. C.A. 176 v. b 


\With drawing] 

Body formed from the perspective by Leonardo Vinci, disciple of 

This body may be made without the example of any other body but 
merely with plain lines. C.A. 191 r. a 

Among the various studies of natural processes, that of light gives 
most pleasure to those who contemplate it; and among the noteworthy 
characteristics of mathematical science, the certainty of its demonstra- 
tions is what operates most powerfully to elevate the minds of its 

Perspective therefore is to be preferred to all the formularies and 
systems of the schoolmen, for in its province the complex beam of light 
is made to show the stages of its development, wherein is found the 
glory not only of mathematical but also of physical science, adorned as 
it is with the flowers of both. And whereas its propositions have been 
expanded with much circumlocution I will epitomise them with con- 
clusive brevity, introducing however illustrations drawn either from 
nature or from mathematical science according to the nature of the 
subject, and sometimes deducing the results from the causes and at 
other times the causes from the results; adding also to my conclusions 
some which are not contained in these, but which nevertheless are to be 
inferred from them; even as the Lord who is the Light of all things 
shall vouchsafe to reveal to me, who seek to interpret this light and 
consequently I will divide the present work into three parts. 

Light, when in the course of its incidence it sees things which have 
been turned against itself, retains their images in part. This conclusion 
is proved by results, because the vision as it looks upon the light has a 
measure of fear. Even so after the glance there remain in the eye the 
images of vivid objects, and they make the place of lesser light appear 
in shadow until the eye has lost the trace of the impression of the 
greater light. C.A. 203 r. a 


If you wish to represent a figure in the corner of a dwelling which 
shall appear to have been made in a level place, get someone to strip 
naked, and with the light of a candle make their shadow fall as you 


wish in the said corner, and draw the outline of it with charcoal; but 
your sight will wish to be in the spot exactly through a hole placed 
where the light passed, and again the light of the window after its work 
will wish to come by the said line, so that the walls joined together in 
the corner will not be any darker on account of the shadow, the one 
than the other. 


That the light has not any difference from the eye as regards losing 
the thing which is behind the first object is due to this reason: you 
know that in swiftness of movement and in concourse of straight lines 
the visual ray and the ray of light resemble each other. As an example: 
suppose you hold a coin near to the eye, that space which exists between 
the coin and the boundary of the position, will be more capable o 
expansion, in proportion as the part of the boundary of the position 
which is not visible to the eye is the greater, and the nearer the coin 
is brought to the eye the more the boundary of the position will be 
filled up. 


Of the eye. The same process may be seen with light, for as you 
bring the said coin nearer or remove it farther from this light you will 
see the shadow on the opposite wall growing larger or failing, and if 
you wish an example let it be in this form : have many bodies of differ- 
ent things placed in a large room, then take in your hand a long pole 
with a piece of charcoal at the point and mark with that on the ground 
and along the walls all the outlines of the things 1 as they appear 
against the boundaries of the wall. 

Of the light. Then at the same distance and height place a light, and 
you will see the shadows of the said bodies covering as much of the 
wall as the part that found itself enclosed within the marks made by 
the charcoal placed at the point of the pole. 

1 Reading cose. MS. has delle pariete. 



If you wish to see a similar experiment place a light upon a table, 
and then retire a certain distance away, and you will see that all the 
shadows of the objects which are between the wall and the light remain 
stamped with the shadow of the form of the objects, and all the lines of 
their length converge in the point where the light is. 

Afterwards bring your eye nearer to this light, using the blade of a 
knife for a screen so that the light may not hurt your eye, and you will 
see all the bodies opposite without their shadows, and the shadows 
which were in the partitions of the walls will be covered as regards the 
eye by the bodies which are set before them. C.A. 204 v. b 

Of things of equal size situated at an equal distance from the eye, 
that will appear the larger which is whiter in colour. 

Equal things equally distant from the eye will be judged by the eye 
to be of equal size. 

Equal things through being at different distances from the eye come 
to appear of unequal size. 

Unequal things by reason of their different distances from the eye 
may appear equal. C.A. 221 v. c 

Many things of great bulk lose their visibility in the far distance by 
reason of their colour, and many small things in the far distance retain 
their visibility by reason of the said colour. 

An object of a colour similar to that of the air retains its visibility 
at a moderate distance, and an object that is paler than the air retains it 
in the far distance, and an object which is darker than the air ceases to 
be visible at a short distance. 

But of these three kinds of objects that will be visible at the greatest 
distance of which the colour presents the strongest contrast to itself. 

C.A. 249 r. c 


That dimness (il mezzo confuso) which occurs by reason of distance, 
or at night, or when mist comes between the eye and the object, causes 
the boundaries of this object to become almost indistinguishable from 
the atmosphere. C.A. 316 v. b 


An object placed between the eye and an object of dazzling white- 
ness loses half its size. C.A. 320 v. b 


If you place a candle between two tall mirrors shaped like curved 
roofing tiles in the manner here shown {drawing], you will see every- 
thing that offers resistance melted in this candle with the help of these 
mirrors. C.A. 338 r. a 

If you wish to furnish a proof of how things seen by the eye diminish, 
it is necessary to fix the eye on the centre of the wall, and the curve of 
the wall will then give you the true clearness of the things seen. 

When the cause of the shadow is near the place where it strikes and 
distant from the light, you will see the shape of the cause of the severed 
rays clearly upon the wall. C.A. 353 r. b 

Among things of equal size, that will show itself less in form which 
is farther away from the eye. C.A. 353 v. b 


It is asked of you, O painter, why the figures which you draw on a 
minute scale as a demonstration of perspective do not appear not? 
withstanding the demonstration of distance as large as real ones, 
which are of the same height as those painted upon the wall. 

And why [representations of] things, seen a short distance away, 
notwithstanding the distance, seem larger than the reality. Tr. 66 a 


Perspective is nothing else than the seeing of an object behind a sheet 
of glass, smooth and quite transparent, on the surface of which all the 
things may be marked that are behind this glass; these things approach 
the point of the eye in pyramids, and these pyramids are cut by the said 
glass. A i v. 

Citation of the things that I ask to have admitted in the proofs of this 
my perspective: I ask that it may be permitted me to affirm that 

Royal Library, Windsor 


every ray which passes through air of uniform density proceeds in a 
direct line from its cause to its object or the place at which it strikes. 


A second object as far removed from the first as the first is from the 
eye will appear half the size of the first, although they are of the same 

A small object near at hand and a large one at a distance, when seen 
between equal angles will appear the same size. 

I ask how far away the eye can see a non-luminous body, as for 
instance a mountain. It will see it to advantage if the sun is behind it, 
and it will seem at a greater or less distance away according to the sun's 
place in the sky. A 8 v. 

Perspective is a rational demonstration whereby experience confirms 
how all things transmit their images to the eye by pyramidal lines. By 
pyramidal lines I mean those which start from the extremities of the 
surface of bodies, and by gradually converging from a distance arrive 
at the same point; the said point being, as I shall show, in this par- 
ticular case located in the eye, which is the universal judge of all 
objects. I call a point that which cannot be divided up into any parts; 
and as this point which is situated in the eye is indivisible, no body can 
be seen by the eye which is not greater than this point, and this being 
the case it is necessary that the lines which extend from the object to 
the point should be pyramidal. And if anyone should wish to prove 
that the faculty of sight does not belong to this point, but rather to that 
black spot which is seen in the centre of the pupil, one might reply to 
him that a small object never could diminish at any distance, as for 
example a grain of millet or panic-seed or other similar thing, and that 
this thing which was greater than the said point could never be entirely 
seen. A 10 r. 

No object can be of so great a size as not to appear less to the eye at a 
^reat distance than a smaller object which is nearer. 

A wall surface is a perpendicular plane represented in front of the 
common point at which the concourse of the pyramids converges. And 


this wall surface performs the same function for the said point as a flat 
piece of glass upon which you drew the various objects that you saw 
through it, and the things drawn would be so much less than the orig- 
inals, as the space that existed between the glass and the eye was less 
than that between the glass and the object. 

The concourse of the pyramids created by the bodies will show upon 
the wall surface the variety of the size and distance of their causes. 

All these planes which have their extremities joined by perpendicular 
lines forming right angles must necessarily, if of equal size, be less 
visible the nearer they rise to the level of the eye, and the farther they 
pass beyond it the more will their real size be seen. 

The farther distant from the eye is the spherical body, the more it is 
seen. A 10 v. 

As soon as ever the air is illuminated it is filled with an infinite num- 
ber of images, caused by the various substances and colours collected 
together within it, and of these images the eye is the target and the 
magnet. A 27 r. 


All things transmit their image to the eye by means of pyramids; 
the nearer to the eye these are intersected the smaller the image of their 
cause will appear. A 36 v. 

If you should ask how you can demonstrate these points to me from 
experience, I should tell you, as regards the vanishing point which 
moves with you, to notice as you go along by lands ploughed in straight 
furrows, the ends of which start from the path where you are walking, 
you will see that continually each pair of furrows seem to approach 
each other and to join at their ends. 

As regards the point that comes to the eye, it may be comprehended 
with greater ease; for if you look in the eye of anyone you will see 
your own image there; consequently if you suppose two lines to start 
from your ears and proceed to the ears of the image which you see of 
yourself m the eye of the other person, you will clearly recognise that 
these lines contract so much that when they have continued only a littl^ 
way beyond your image as mirrored in the said eye they will touch one 
another in a point. A 37 r. and v. 


The thing that is nearer to the eye always appears larger than another 
of the same size which is more remote. A 38 r. 

Perspective is of such a nature that it makes what is flat appear in 
relief, and what is in relief! appear flat. A 38 v. 

The perspective by means of which a thing is represented will be 
better understood when it is seen from the view-point at which it was 

If you wish to represent a thing near, which should produce the effect 
of natural things, it is impossible for your perspective not to appear 
false, by reason of all the illusory appearances and errors in proportion 
of which the existence may be assumed in a mediocre work, unless 
whoever is looking at this perspective finds himself surveying it from 
the exact distance, elevation, angle of vision or point at which you were 
situated to make this perspective. Therefore it would be necessary to 
make a window of the size of your face or in truth a hole through 
which you would look at the said work. And if you should do this, 
then without any doubt your work will produce the effect of nature i 
the light and shade are correctly rendered, and you will hardly be able 
to convince yourself that these things are painted. Otherwise do not 
trouble yourself about representing anything, unless you take your 
view-point at a distance of at least twenty times the maximum width 
and height of the thing that you represent; and this will satisfy every 
beholder who places himself in front of the work at any angle what- 

If you wish to see a proof of this quickly, take a piece of a staff like 
a small column eight times as high as its width without plinth or cap- 
ital, then measure off on a flat wall forty equal spaces which are in 
conformity with the spaces; they will make between them forty col- 
umns similar to your small column. Then let there be set up in front 
of the middle of these spaces, at a distance of four braccia from the 
wall, a thin band of iron, in the centre of which there is a small round 
hole of the size of a large pearl; place a light beside this hole so as to 
touch it, then go and pkce your column above each mark of the wall 
and draw the outline of the shadow, then shade it and observe it 
through the hole in the iron. A 40 v. 


In Vitolone there are eight hundred and five conclusions about 
perspective. B 5 8 r - 


No visible body can be comprehended and well judged by human 
eyes, except by the difference of the background where the extremities 
of this body terminate and are bounded, and so far as its contour lines 
are concerned no object will seem to be separated from this background. 
The moon, although far distant from the body of the sun, when by 
reason of eclipses it finds itself between our eyes and the sun, having 
the sun for its background will seem to human eyes to be joined and 
attached to it. c 2 3 r - 

Perspective comes to aid us where judgment fails in things that 
diminish. c 2 ? v 

[Of perspective in nature and in art\ 

It is possible to bring about that the eye does not see distant objects 
as much diminished as they are in natural perspective, where they are 
diminished by reason of the convexity of the eye, which is obliged to 
intersect upon its surface the pyramids of every kind of image that 
approach the eye at a right angle. But the method that I show here in 
the margin cuts these pyramids at right angles near the surface of the 
pupil. But whereas the convex pupil of the eye can take in the whole of 
our hemisphere, this will show only a single star; but where many 
small stars transmit their images to the surface of the pupil these stars 
are very small; here only one will be visible but it will be large; and so 
the moon will be greater in size and its spots more distinct. You should 
place close to the eye a glass filled with the water mentioned in [chap- 
ter] four of book 113 'Concerning Natural Things', water which 
causes things congealed in balls of crystalline glass to appear as though 
they were without glass. 

Of the eye. Of bodies less than the pupil of the eye that which is 
nearest to it will be least discerned by this pupil and from this expe- 
rience it follows that the power of sight is not reduced to a point. 

But the images of objects which meet in the pupil of the eye are 
spread over this pupil in the same way as they are spread about in the 
air; and the proof of this is pointed out to us when we look at the 


-starry heavens without fixing our gaze more upon one star than upon 
another, for then the sky shows itself to us strewn with stars, and they 
bear to the eye the same proportions as in the sky, and the spaces 
between them also are the same. E 15 v. 

Natural perspective acts in the opposite way, for the greater the 
distance the smaller does the thing seen appear, and the less the distance 
the larger it appears. But this invention constrains the beholder to stand 
with his eye at a small hole, and then with this small hole it will be 
seen well. But since many eyes come together to see at the same time 
one and the same work produced by this art, only one of them will 
have a good view of the function of this perspective and all the others 
will only see it confusedly. It is well therefore to shun this compound 
perspective, and to keep to the simple which does not purport to view 
planes foreshortened but as far as possible in exact form. 

And of this simple perspective in which the plane intersects the 
pyramid that conveys the images to tfie eye that are at an equal distance 
from the visual faculty, an example is afforded us by the curve of the 
pupil of the eye upon which these pyramids intersect at an equal dis- 
tance from the visual faculty. E 16 r. 


The practice of perspective is divided into [two] parts, of which the 
first treats of all the things seen by the eye at whatsoever distance, and 
this in itself shows all these things diminished as the eye beholds them,, 
without the man being obliged to stand in one place rather than in 
another, provided that the wall does not foreshorten it a second time. 

But the second practice is a combination of perspective made partly 
by art and partly by nature, and the work done according to its rules 
has no part that is not influenced by natural and accidental perspective. 
Natural perspective I understand has to do with the flat surface on 
which this perspective is represented; which surface, although it is 
parallel to it in length and height, is constrained to diminish the distant 
parts more than its near ones. And this is proved by the first of what 
has been said above, and its diminution is natural. 

Accidental perspective, that is that which is created by art, acts in 


the contrary way; because it causes bodies equal in themselves to 
increase on the foreshortened plane, in proportion as the eye is more 
natural and nearer to the plane, and as the part of this plane where it 
is represented is more remote from the eye. E 16 v. 


If the true outlines of opaque bodies become indistinguishable at any 
short distance they will be still more invisible at great distances; and 
since it is by the outlines that the true shape of each opaque body 
becomes known, whenever because of distance we lack the perception 
of the whole we shall lack yet more the perception of its parts and 
outlines. E 80 r. 


There are three divisions of perspective as employed in painting. Of 
these the first relates to the diminution in the volume of opaque bodies; 
the second treats of the diminution and disappearance of the outlines 
of these opaque bodies; the third is their diminution and loss of colour 
when at a great distance. 



Among opaque bodies of equal magnitude, the diminution apparent 
in their size will vary according to their distance from the eye which 
sees them; but it will be in inverse proportion, for at the greater dis- 
tance the opaque body appears less, and at a less distance this body will 
appear greater, and on this is founded linear perspective. And show 
secondly how every object at a great distance loses first that portion of 
itself which is the thinnest. Thus with a horse, it would lose the legs 
sooner than the head because the legs are thinner than the head, and it 
would lose the neck before the trunk for the same reason. It follows 
therefore that the part of the horse which the eye will be able last to 
discern will be the trunk, retaining still its oval form, but rather ap- 
proximating to the shape of a cylinder, and it will lose its thickness 


sooner than its length from the second conclusion aforsaid. If the eye 
is immovable the perspective terminates its distance in a point; but if 
the eye moves in a straight line the perspective ends in a line, because 
it is proved that the line is produced by the movement of the point, and 
our sight is fixed upon the point, and consequently it follows that as the 
sight moves the point moves, and as the point moves the line is pro- 
duced. E 80 v. 

Of objects of equal size placed at equal distances from the eye the 
more luminous will appear the greater. 

Of equal objects equally distant from the eye the more obscure will 
appear the less. F 36 r. 

Of things removed an equal distance from the eye that will appear 
to be less diminished which was at first more. 

Of things removed from the eye at an equal distance from their first 
position, that is less diminished which at first was more distant from 
this eye. 

And the proportion of the diminution will be the same as that of the 
distances at which they were from the eye before their movement. 

F 60 v. 


Simple perspective is that which is made by art upon a position 
equally distant from the eye in each of its parts. 

Complex perspective is that which is made upon a position in which 
no two of the parts are equally distant from the eye. G 13 v. 


If two similar and equal things be placed one behind the other at a 
given distance, the difference in their size will appear greater in pro- 
portion as they are nearer to the eye which sees them. And conversely 
there will appear less difference in size between them as they are 
farther removed from the eye. 

This is proved by means of the proportions that they have between 
their distances, for if there are two bodies with as great a distance from 
the eye to the first as from the first to the second this proportion is 


called double; because if the first is one braccio distant from the eye 
and the second is at a distance of two braccia, the second space is double 
the first, and for this reason the first body will show itself double the 
second. And if you remove the first to a distance of a hundred braccia 
and the second to a hundred and one braccia, you will find that the 
first is greater than the second by the extent to which a hundred is 
less than a hundred and one, and this conversely. 

The same thing also is proved by the fourth of this, which says: in 
the case of equal things there is the same proportion of size to size as 
that of distance to distance from the eye that sees them, G 29 v. 


Perspective as it concerns Painting is divided into three chief parts, 
of which the first treats of the diminution in the size of bodies at dif- 
ferent distances. The second is that which treats of the diminution in 
the colour of these bodies. The third of the gradual loss of distinctness 
of the forms and outlines of these bodies at various distances. 

Perspective employs in distances two opposite pyramids, one of which 
has its apex in the eye and its base as far away as the horizon. The 
other has the base towards the eye and the apex on the horizon. But the 
first is concerned with the universe, embracing all the mass of the ob- 
jects that pass before the eye, as though a vast landscape was seen 
through a small hole, the number of the objects seen through such a 
hole being so much the greater in proportion as the objects are more 
remote from the eye; and thus the base is formed on the horizon and 
the apex in the eye, as I have said above. 

The second pyramid has to do with a peculiarity of landscape, in 
showing itself so much smaller in proportion as it recedes farther from 
the eye; and this second instance of perspective springs from the first. 

^Perspective of disappearance] 

In every figure pkced at a great distance you lose first the knowledge 
of its most minute parts, and preserve to the last that of the larger 
parts, losing, however, the perception of all their extremities; and they 
become oval or spherical in shape, and their boundaries are indistinct. 

053 v. 


The eye cannot comprehend a luminous angle when close to itself. 

H 71 [23] r. 


The shadows or reflections o things seen in moving water, that is to 
say with tiny waves, will always be greater than the object outside the 
water which causes them. 

The eye cannot judge where an object high up ought to descend. 

H 76 [28] v. 

No surface will reveal itself exactly if the eye which see it is not 
equally distant from its extremities. H 81 [33] r. 


An object of uniform thickness and colour seen against a background 
of various colours will appear not to be of uniform thickness. 

And if an object of uniform thickness and of various colours is seen 
against a background of uniform colour, the object will seem of a 
varying thickness. 

And in proportion as the colours of the background, or of the object 
seen against the background, have more variety, the more will their 
thickness seem to vary, although the objects seen against the back- 
ground may be of equal thickness. i 17 v. 

A dark object seen against a light background will seem smaller 
than it is. 

A light object will appear greater in size when it is seen against a 
background that is darker in colour. i 18 r. 

If the eye be in the middle of a course with two horses running to 
their goal along parallel tracks, it will seem to it that they are running 
to meet one another. 

This that has been stated occurs because the images of the horses 
which impress themselves upon the eye are moving towards the centre 
of the surface of the pupil of the eye. K 120 [40] v. 



Foreshorten, on the summits and sides of the hills, the outlines of 
the estates and their divisions; and, as regards the things turned to- 
wards you, make them in their true shape. L 21 r. 

Among things of equal velocity, that will appear of slower move- 
ment which is more remote from the eye. 
Therefore that will appear swifter which is nearer to the eye. 

B.M. 134 v. 

[Aerial perspective] 

In the morning the mist is thicker up above than in the lower parts 
because the sun draws it upwards; so with high buildings the summit 
will be invisible although it is at the same distance as the base. And this 
is why the sky seems darker up above and towards the horizon, and 
does not approximate to blue but is all the colour of smoke and dust. 

The atmosphere when impregnated with mist is altogether devoid of 
blueness and merely seems to be the colour of the clouds, which turn 
white when it is fine weather. And the more you turn to the west the 
darker you will find it to be, and the brighter and clearer towards the 
east. And the verdure of the countryside will assume a bluish hue in 
the half-mist but will turn black when the mist is thicker. 

Buildings which face the west only show their illuminated side, the 
rest the mist hides. 

When the sun rises and drives away the mists, and the hills begin to 
grow distinct on the side from which the mists are departing, they 
become blue and seem to put forth smoke in the direction of the mists 
that are flying away, and the buildings reveal their lights and shadows; 
and where the mist is less dense they show only their lights, and where 
it is more dense nothing at all. Then it is that the movement of the 
mist causes it to pass horizontally and so its edges are scarcely percep- 
tible against the blue of the atmosphere, and against the ground it will 
seem almost like dust rising. 

In proportion as the atmosphere is more dense the buildings in a city 
and the trees in landscapes will seem more infrequent, for only the 
most prominent and the largest will be visible. 

And the mountains will seem few in number, for only those will be 


seen which are farthest apart from each other, since at such distances 
the increases in the density creates a brightness so pervading that the 
darkness of the hills is divided, and quite disappears towards their 
summits. In the small adjacent hills it cannot find such foothold, and 
therefore they are less visible and least of all at their bases. 

Darkness steeps everything with its hue, and the more an object is 
divided from darkness the more it shows its true and natural colour. 

B.M. 169 r. 

Equal things equally distant from the eye will be judged to be of 
equal size by this eye. 


The shaded and the illuminated parts of opaque bodies will be in 
the same proportion of brightness and darkness as are those of their 
objects [that is of the body or bodies which project upon them], 

Forster n 5 r. 


Of things of equal size that which is farther away from the eye will 
appear of less bulk. Forster n 15 v. 


When the eye turns away from a white object which is illuminated 
by the sun, and goes to a place where there is less light, everything 
there will seem dark. And this happens, because the eye that rests upon 
this white illuminated object proceeds to contract its pupil to such an 
extent that whatever the original surface that was visible they will have 
lost more than three quarters of it, and thus lacking in size they will 
also be lacking in power. 

Though you might say to me: a small bird then would see in pro- 
portion very little, and because of the smallness of its pupils the white 
there would appear black. To this I should reply to you that we are 
here paying attention to the proportion of the mass of that part of the 
brain which is devoted to the sense of sight, and not to any other thing. 
Or to return this pupil of ours expands and contracts according to 
the brightness or darkness of its object, and since it needs an interval 


of time thus to expand and contract, it cannot see all at once when 
emerging from the light and going to the shade, nor similarly from the 
shade to what is illuminated; and this circumstance has already de- 
ceived me when painting an eye, and from it I have learnt. 

Forster n 158 v. 

Among equal things the more remote will seem the smaller; and the 
proportion of the diminutions will be as that of the distances. 

Quaderni rv 10 r. 
[Perspective of colours] 

Make the perspective of the colours so that it is not at variance with 
the size of any object, that is that the colours lose part of their nature 
in proportion as the bodies at different distances suffer loss of their nat- 
ural quantity, Quaderni vi 18 r. 

Artists' Materials 

4 'Amber is the latex of the cypress tree* 

SINCE walnuts are covered with a certain thin skin which derives its 
nature from the husk, unless you peel this off when you are making 
the oil this husk will tinge the oil, and when you use it in your work 
the husk becomes separated from the oil and comes to the surface of 
the picture, and this is what causes it to change. C.A. 4 v. b 


Take rubies of Rocca Nera or garnets and mix with lattimo^ also 
Armenian bole is good in part. Tr. 71 a 

Sap of spurge and milk of the fig tree as a dissolvent. H 65 [17] r. 

You will make good ochre if you employ the same method that onr 
uses to make white lead. H 94 [46] v. 


Take cypress [oil] and distil it, and have a large jug and put the 
distilled essence in it with so much water as to make it the colour of 
amber, and cover it over well so that it does not evaporate; and when 
it has dissolved add in this jug of the said essence so that it shall be as 
Aiquid as you desire. And you must know that the amber is the latex 
of the cypress tree. 

And since varnish is the gum of juniper, if you distil the juniper 
*he said varnish can be dissolved in this essence in the manner spoken 
r*i above. Forster i 43 r. 

Tap a juniper tree and water its roots, and mix the latex that exudes 

1 Lattimo, a substance which has i*he colour o milk, used by glaziers. A> Art* Vetr* 



with oil of walnut and you will have perfect varnish made with 
varnish, and this same you will make from the cypress, and you will 
then have varnish of the colour of amber, beautiful and famous for its 
quality. Make it in May or April. Forster i 44 v. 


Temper with a little wax and it will not flake. And this wax should 
be dissolved with water, so that after the white lead has been mixed 
this water having been distilled may pass away in steam and the wax 
only remain, and you will make good points. But know that it is 
necessary for you to grind the colours with a warm stone. 

Forster n 159 r. 


Seed of mustard pounded with oil of linseed. Forster m 10 v. 

Make oil from seed of mustard, and if you wish to make it more 
easily mix the seed after grinding it with oil of linseed, and put it all 
under a press. Forster in 40 r. 


Paste [is made] of emery mixed with spirits of wine, or iron filings 
with vinegar, or ashes of walnut-leaves, or ashes of straw rubbed very 

The diamond is crushed [by being] wrapped up in lead and beaten 
with a hammer, the lead being several time spread out and folded up 
again, and it is kept wrapped up in paper so that the powder may not 
be scattered. Then melt the lead, and the powder rises to the surface of 
the lead when it has melted, and it is afterwards rubbed between two 
plates of steel so that it becomes a very fine powder; afterwards wash 
it with aqua fortis and the black coating of the iron will be dissolved 
and will leave the powder clean. 

Lumps of emery can be broken up by placing them in a cloth folded 
many times and hitting it on the side with a hammer; and by this 
means it goes into flakes bit by bit and is then easily crushed; and if 
you place it on the anvil you will never break it on account of its size. 

The grinder of enamels ought to practise in this way upon plates of 


tempered steel with a steel press, and then place it in aqua fortis which 
dissolves all the steel that is eaten away and mingled with this enamel 
and makes it black, with result that the enamel remains purified and 

I you grind it upon porphyry this porphyry is consumed and be- 
comes mingled with the enamel and spoils it, and aqua fortis will 
never free it from the porphyry because it cannot dissolve it. 

If you wish to make a beautiful blue, dissolve with tartar the enamel 
you have made and then take off the salt. 

Brass vitrified makes a fine red. Sul Volo Cover [i] v. 


*WorJ(S of fame by which I could show to those who 
are to come that I have been! 

[MEMORANDUM of order of events in the Battle of Anghiari, drawn 
up apparently for consultation by Leonardo in the composition of his 
picture on the wall of the Council Chamber of the Palazzo della 
Signoria at Florence.] 

[Leadjers of the Florentines. 

Neri di Gino Capponi. 

Bernardetto de' Medici. 

Niccol6 da Pisa, 

Count Francesco. 


Pietro Gian Paolo. 

Guelfo Orsino. 

Messer Rinaldo degli Albizi. 

You should commence with the oration of Niccolo Piccinino to the 
soldiers and exiled Florentines, among whom was Messer Rinaldo 
degli Albizi. Then you should show him first mounting his horse in 
fall armour and the whole army following him: forty squadrons of 
horse and two thousand foot soldiers went with him. 

And the Patriarch at an early hour of the morning ascended a hill 
in order to reconnoitre the country, that is the hills, fields and a valley 
watered by a river; and he saw Niccol6 Piccinino approaching from 
Borgo San Sepolcro with his men in a great cloud of dust, and having 
discovered him he turned to the captains of his men and spoke with 

And having spoken he clasped his hands and prayed to God; and 
presently he saw a cloud, and from the cloud St. Peter emerged and 



spoke to the Patriarch. Five hundred cavalry were despatched by the 
Patriarch to hinder or check the enemy's attack. 

In the foremost troop was Francesco, son of Niccolo Piccinino, and 
he arrived first to attack the bridge which was defended by the 
Patriarch[?] 1 and the Florentines. 

Behind the bridge on the left he sent the infantry to engage our men 
who beat off the attack. Their leader was Micheletto who [ . . . ] was 
the officer of the watch at the court. Here at this bridge there was a 
great fight: the enemy conquer and the enemy are repulsed. 

Then Guido and Astorre his brother, lord of Faenza, with many of 
their men, reformed and renewed the combat, and hurled themselves 
upon the Florentines with such vigour that they regained possession 
of the bridge, and pushed their advance as far as the tents. 

Opposite to these came Simonetto with six hundred cavalry to 
harass the enemy, and he drove them again from the spot and reoc- 
cupied the bridge. 

And behind him came another company with two thousand 
cavalry, and so for a long time the battle swayed. 

And then the Patriarch to throw disorder into the ranks of the 
enemy sent forward Niccold da Pisa and Napoleone Orsino, a beard- 
less youth, and with them a great multitude of men, and then was 
done another great deed of arms. 

And at this rime Niccolo Piccinino pushed up another unit of his 
followers, and this caused yet another advance by our men; and had 
it not been for the Patriarch throwing himself into the midst and 
sustaining his commanders by words and deeds the enemy would have 
driven them in flight. 

And the Patriarch made them set up certain pieces of artillery on 
the hill, by means of which he spread confusion among the infantry of 
the enemy. And this disorder was so great that NiccoI6 began to call 
back his son and all his followers and they started in flight towards 
the Borgo. And at this spot there occurred a great slaughter of men, 
and none escaped save those who were the first to fly or those who hid 

The passage o arms continued until the going down of the sun, 

1 MS. has PP. 



and the Patriarch busied himself in withdrawing his troops and bury- 
ing the dead, and afterwards he set up a trophy. 

C.A. 74 r. b and 74 v. c 


Cost of the wor\ and material for the horse 
A courser, life size, with the rider, requires for the cost 

of the metal ducats 500 

And for the cost of the iron work which goes inside the 
model, and charcoal, wooden props, pit for the cast- 
ing, and for binding the mould, including the furnace 
where it is to be cast ducats 200 

For making the model in clay and afterwards in wax ducats 432 
And for the workmen who polish it after it has been cast ducats 450 

Total ducats 1582 

Cost of the marble for the tomb 

Cost of the marble according to the design. The piece of 
marble which goes under the horse which is 4 braccia 
long and 2 braccia 2 inches wide and 9 inches thick, 
58 hundredweight, at 4 lire 10 soldi per hundred- 
weight ducats 58 
And for 13 braccia 6 inches of cornice, 7 inches wide and 

4 inches thick, 24 hundredweight ducats 24 
And for the frieze and architrave which is 4 braccia 6 

inches long, 2 braccia wide and 6 inches thick, 20 
hundredweight ducats 20 

And for the capitals made of metal of which there are 8, 

5 inches square and 2 inches thick : at the price of 15 

ducats each they come to ducats 120 

And for 8 columns of 2 braccia 7 inches, 4% inches thick, 
- 20 hundredweight ducats 20 

1 For a discussion o the evidence relating to the project for a sepulchral monument 
of Marshal Trivulzio of which this is an estimate, see the author's Mind oj Leonardo 
(Cape, 1928), pp. 336-9- 


And for 8 bases, 5% inches square and 2 inches high 5 

hundredweight ducats 5 

And for the stone, where it is upon the tomb, 4 braccia 
10 inches long, 2 braccia 4% inches wide, 36 hundred- 
weight ducats 36 

And for 8 feet of pedestals, which are 8 braccia long, 
6 l / 2 inches wide, 6 l / 2 inches thick, and 20 hundred- 
weight ducats 20 

And for the cornice that is below, which is [ . . . ] 
braccia 10 inches long, 2 braccia 5 inches wide and 
4 inches thick, 32 hundredweight ducats 32 

And for the stone of which the recumbent figure (il 
morto) is to be made, which is 3 braccia 8 inches long, 
i braccia 6 inches wide, 9 inches thick, 30 hundred- 
weight ducats 30 

And for the stone that is beneath the recumbent figure, 
which is 3 braccia 4 inches long, i braccia 2 inches 
wide, 4% inches thick ducats 16 

And for the slabs of marble interposed between the 
pedestals, of which there are 8 9 braccia long, 9 
inches wide, 3 inches thick 8 hundredweight ducats 8 

Total ducats 389 

Cost of the worJ^ upon the marble 
Round the base of the horse there are 8 figures at 25 

ducats each ducats 200 

And in the same base are 8 festoons with certain other 
ornaments, and of these there are 4 at the price of 15 
ducats each, and 4 at the price of 8 ducats each ducats 92 

And for squaring these stones ducats 6 

Further for the large cornice, which goes below the base 
of the horse, which is 13 braccia 6 inches at 2 ducats 
per braccio ducats 27 

And for 12 braccia of frieze at 5 ducats per braccio ducats 60 

And for 12 braccia of architrave at 1% ducats per braccio ducats 18 
And for 3 rosettes which form the soffit of the monument, 

at 20 ducats the rosette ducats 60 



And for 8 fluted columns at 8 ducats each ducats 64 

And for 8 bases at one ducat each ducats 8 

And for 8 pedestals, of which there are 4 at 10 ducats 
each, which go above the corners, and 4 at 6 ducats 
each ducats 64 

And for squaring and framing the pedestals at 2 ducats 

each, there being eight ducats 16 

And for 6 tables with figures and trophies at 25 ducats 

each ducats 150 

And for making the cornices of the stone which is be- 
neath the recumbent figure ducats 40 
For making the recumbent figure, to do it well ducats 100 
For 6 harpies with candlesticks, at 25 ducats each ducats 150 
For squaring the stone on which the recumbent figure 

rests, and its cornice ducats 20 

Total ducats 1075 

The total of everything added together is ducats 3046. 

C.A. 179 v. a 

The Labours of Hercules for Pier F. Ginori. 
The Garden of the Medici. 1 

C.A. 288 v. b 


Antonio: lily and book. 

Bernardino: with Jesus. 

Lodovico: with three lilies on his breast, with crown at his feet. 

Bonaventura: with seraphim. 

x From the juxtaposition of these two notes in the manuscript the first may perhaps 
be interpreted as a reference to an intended commission, probably for a work in sculp- 
ture, to be executed or studied for among the casts in that Garden of the Medici in 
the piazza di San Marco, where in the time of II Magnifico an Academy of the Arts 
existed under the charge of the sculptor Bertoldo. Its existence is referred to by Vasari 
in his lives of Donatello and Torrigiano. The fact of Leonardo having worked for a 
time in this garden is borne witness to in the short biography of him written just 
before the middle of the sixteenth century by a Florentine known as the Anon mo 

*He lived as a youth with Lorenzo de* Medici II Magnifico who in order to make 
provision for h\m set him to work in the garden of the piazza of San Marco in 


[Diagram for Altarpiece] 

I I 

Giovita Faustino 

I 1 

San Piero Our Lady Paolo 

1 I 1 I 

Elisabetta Santa Chiara 

1 I I I 

Bernardino Lodovico 

Bonaventura Antonio da Padua 

San Francesco 

Santa Chiara: with the tabernacle. 

Elisabett^ : with queen's crown. 1 i 107 [59] r. 

[Notes apparently relating to some commission] 
Ambrogio de Predis. 
San Marco. 

Board for the window. 
Gaspari Strame. 
The saints of the chapel. 
The Genoese at home. -LIT, 

[Note with drawing apparently of mechanism of stage scenery] 
a b, c d is a hill which opens thus: a b goes to c d and c d goes to<?/; 

and Pluto is revealed in g, his residence. 
When Pluto's paradise is opened then let there be devils placed there 

in twelve pots to resemble the mouths of hell. 
There, there should be Death, the Furies, Cerberus, many nude Putti 

in lamentation. There fires made in various colours. . . . 

B.M. 231 v. 

1 Following on his identification o the names at the head of the two lists as those 
of the two patron saints of Brescia, Dr. Emil Moller has put forward reasons for regard- 
ing this sketch as intended for an altar-piece for S. Francesco at Brescia, which he 
believes to have been contemplated by Leonardo in the year 1479. (See Repcrtorium fur 
^iunsttvisscnschcfft, xxxv.) 


[For heraldic devices with drawings'] 


On the left side let there be a wheel, and let the centre of it cover the 
centre of the horse's hinder thigh-piece, and in this centre should be 
shewn Prudence dressed in red, representing Charity, sitting in a fiery 
chariot, with a sprig of laurel in her hand to indicate the hope that 
springs from good service. 

On the opposite side let there be placed in like manner Fortitude 
with her necklace in hand, clothed in white which signifies . . . and 
all crowned, and Prudence with three eyes. 

The housing of the horse should be woven of plain gold, bedecked 
with many peacocks* eyes, and this applies to all the housings of the 
horse and the coat of the man. 

The crest of the man's helmet and his hauberk of peacocks' feathers, 
on a gold ground. 

Above the helmet let there be a half-globe to represent our hemi- 
sphere in the form of a world, and upon it a peacock with tail spread 
out to pass beyond the group, richly decorated, and every ornament 
which belongs to the horse should be of peacocks' feathers on a gold 
ground, to signify the beauty that results from the grace bestowed on 
him who serves well. 

In the shield a large mirror to signify that he who really wishes for 
favour should be mirrored in his virtues. B.M. 250 r. 


Count Giovanni, of the household of the cardinal of Mortaro. 
Giovannina, face of fantasy; lives at Santa Caterina at the hospital. 

Forster n 3 r. 

Alessandro Carissimo of Parma for the hand of Christ. 

Forster n 6 r. 

One who was drinking and left the cup in its place and turned his 
head towards the speaker. 


Another twists the fingers of his hands together and turns with stern 
brows to his companion. 

Another with hands opened showing their palms raises his shoulders 
towards his ears and gapes in astonishment. 

Another speaks in the ear of his neighbour, and he who listens turns 
towards him and gives him his ear, holding a knife in one hand and in 
the other the bread half divided by this knife. 

Another as he turns holding a knife in his hand overturns with this 
hand a glass over the table. 

Another rests his hands upon the table and stares. 

Another breathes heavily with open mouth. 

Another leans forward to look at the speaker and shades his eyes 
with his hand. 

Another draws himself back behind the one who is leaning forward 
and watches the speaker between the wall and the one who is leaning. 1 

Forster n 62 v. and 63 r. 

Cristofano da Castiglione lives at the Pieta, he has a fine head. 

Forster in i v. 

The Florentine morel of Messer Mariolo, a big horse, has a fine neck 
and a very fine head. 2 

White stallion belonging to the falconer has fine haunches, is at the 
Porta Comasina. 

Big horse of Cermonino belongs to Signor Giulio. Forster in 88 r. 

[With drawing of foreleg with measurements} 

The Sicilian of Messer Galeazzo. 

Make this the same within, with the measure of all the shoulder. 

Windsor: Drawings 12294 
[With drawing of horse} 

The big jennet of Messer Galeazzo. Windsor: Drawings 12319 

[These verses, presumably sent to Leonardo by an admirer of his art, 
are the evidence of his having painted a portrait of Lucrezia Crivelli, 
a lady of the Milanese Court] 

1 Description of action of figures in The Last Supper*. 

3 MS. Morel fiorentino di miser Mariolo. Morel, a dark-coloured horse (Murray). As 
the manuscript in which these notes occur bears references to the years 1493 and 1494 
they may refer to studies for the equestrian statue of which a model was erected in the 
latter year. 


Ut bcne respondet naturae ars docta: dedisset 

Vincius, ut tribuit cetera, sic animam. 
Noluitj ut similis magis haec foret: altera sic est: 

Possidet illius Maurus amans animam. 
Hujus, quam cernis, nomen Lucretia: divi 

Omnia cui larga contribuere manu. 
Rara huic forma data est: pinxit Leonardus: amavit 

Maurus: pictorum primus bic: ille ducum. 
Naturam et superas hac laesit imagine divas 

Pictor : tantum hominis posse manum haec doluit. 
Illae longa dari tam magnae tempora formae: 

Quae spatio fuerat deperitura brevi. 
Has laesit Mauri causa: defendet et ipsum 

Maurus: Maurum homines laedere diique timent. 1 

C.A. 167 v. c 

a How well the master's art answers to nature. Da Vinci might have shown the 
soul here, as he has rendered the rest. He did not, so that his picture might be the 
greater likeness; for the soul of the original is possessed by II Moro, her lover. 

This lady's name is Lucrczia, to whom the gods gave all things with lavish hand. 
Beauty of form was given her: Leonardo painted her, II Moro loved her one the 
greatest of painters, the other of princes. 

By this likeness the painter injured Nature and the goddesses on high. Nature 
lamented that the hand of man could attain so much, the goddesses that immortality 
should be bestowed on so fair a form, which ought to have perished. 

For II Moro's sake Leonardo did the injury, and II Moro will protect him. Men 
and gods alike fear to injure II Moro. 


'As practising myself the art of sculpture no less 

than that of painting, and doing both the one and 

the other in the same degree! 

[Notes made in preparation for a statue} 

Of that at Pavia 1 the movement more than anything else is deserv- 
ing of praise. 

It is better to copy the antique than modern work. 

You cannot combine utility with beauty as it appears in fortresses 
and men. 

The trot is almost of the nature o the free horse. 

Where natural vivacity is lacking it is necessary to create it for- 
tuitously. CXA. 147 r. b 

The sculptor cannot represent transparent or luminous things, 

C.A. 215 v. d 

All the heads of the large iron pins. 2 C.A. 216 v. a 

How the eye cannot discern the shapes of bodies within their 
boundaries except by means of shadows and lights; and there are many 
sciences which would be nothing without the science o these shadows 
and lights: as painting, sculpture, astronomy, a great part of perspec- 
tive and the like. 

As may be shown, the sculptor cannot work without the help of 

1 The reference is to the antique bronze equestrian statue representing Odoacer, King 
of the Goths, according to the Anonimo Morelliano, Gisulf according to Antonio Campo 
the historian of Cremona, which was removed by Charlemagne from Ravenna to Pavia 
and stood in the Piazza del Duomo until the time of its destruction, which occurred in a 
revolutionary outbreak in 1796. It was called Regisole, the name being derived from the 
reflections of the sun's rays on the gilded bronze. Petrarch in a letter to Boccaccio says 
of it that *it was looked upon as a masterpiece of art by all good judges*. 

a The words are at the side of a drawing in red chalk representing a horse in an 
attitude of walking seen witliin a frame* 



shadows and lights, since without these the material carved would 
remain all of one colour; and by the ninth of this [book] it is shown 
that a level surface illumined by uniform light does not vary in any 
part the clearness or obscurity of its natural colour, and this uni- 
formity of colour goes to prove the uniformity of the smoothness of 
its surface. It would follow therefore that if the material carved were 
not clothed by shadows and lights, which are necessitated by the 
prominences of certain muscles and the hollows interposed between 
them, the sculptor would not be able uninterruptedly to see the prog- 
ress of his own work, and this the work that he is carving requires, 
and so what he fashioned during the day would be almost as though 
it had been made in the darkness of the night. 


Painting, however, by means of these shadows and lights comes to 
represent upon level surfaces scenes with hollows and raised portions, 
separated from each other by different degrees of distance and in 
different aspects. C.A. 277 v. a 

Measurement of the Sicilian [horse], the leg behind, in front, raised 
and extended, C.A. 291 v. a 


If you wish to make a figure of marble make first one of clay, and 
after you have finished it and let it dry, set it in a case, which should 
be sufficiently large that after the figure has been taken out it can 
hold the block of marble wherein you purpose to lay bare a figure re- 
sembling that in clay. Then after you have placed the clay figure inside 
this case make pegs so that they fit exactly into holes in the case, and 
drive them in at each hole until each white peg touches the figure at 
a different spot; stain black such parts of the pegs as project out of the 
case, and make a distinguishing mark for each peg and for its hole, so 
that you may fit them together at your ease. Then take the clay model 
out of the case and place the block of marble in it, and take away 
from the marble sufficient for all the pegs to be hidden in the holes up 
to their marks, and in order to be able to do this better, make the case 


so that the whole of it can be lifted up and the bottom may still remain 
under the marble; and by this means you will be able to use the 
cutting tools with great readiness. A 43 r. 


Because the time of the blow is indivisible, like the contact caused by 
this blow, its operation is of such swiftness that time does not permit 
this blow to transfer itself to the foundations of the things struck with 
sufficient swiftness to prevent the blow being already dead in its upper 
parts, like the mason who breaks a stone in his hand with a hammer 
without violence or damage to the hand. 

And this is why, after the iron a b has been struck by the blow of 
the hammer in its upper part a, this part has obeyed the nature of the 
blow rather than transferred it to its base b, so that the extremity is 
enlarged more than the base. 

And from this it follows that sculptors work to better effect upon 
their marbles when they rough-hew with a pointed hammer than 
with a chisel struck by the hammer. 

A sharp sword will also cut a roll in the air. c 6 v. 


When you have finished building up the figure you will make the 
statue with all its surface measurements. Quaderni in 3 r. 

Some have erred in teaching sculptors to surround the limbs of their 
figures with wires, as though believing that these limbs were of equal 
roundness at each part at which they were surrounded by these wires. 

Quaderni vi 10 r. 


'Of the horse I mil say nothing because I T^now 
the times! 

... the cold will have sufficient thickness to touch the plaster, and 
you pour out the rest and fill with plaster and then break the mould, 
and put the iron pins across, boring through the wax and plaster, and 
then clean the wax at your leisure; afterwards put it in a case, and 
put a mould of plaster over it, leaving the air holes and the mouth for 
the casting. Through this mouth turn the mould upside down, and 
after it has been heated you will be able to draw out the wax contained 
within it; and you will be able to fill up the vacuum which remains 
with your liquefied material, and the thing cast will become hollow* 
But in order to prevent the plaster from becoming broken while being 
rebaked you must place within it what you know of. C.A. 352 r. c 

[With drawing of apparatus] 

This is the way in which the forms rapidly dry and are continually 
turned like roasts. Tr. 29 a 


You should make a bunch of iron wire as thick as fine string and 
scrub them with it with water, but keeping a tub beneath so that it 
may not cause mud below. 


You should make an iron rod which may be of the shape of a large 
chisel, and rub it along the edges which remain upon the casts of the 
guns and which are caused by the joins in the mould; but see that the 
rod is a good weight and let the strokes be long and sweeping. 




First alloy part of the metal in the crucible and then put it in the 
furnace: this being in a molten state will make a beginning in the 
melting of the copper. 



When the copper begins to cool in the furnace proceed instantly as 
soon as you see this to slice it up with a stirring pole while it is in a 
paste, or if it has become entirely cold, cut it as you would lead with 
broad large chisels. 


If you have to make a cast of a hundred thousand pounds, make it 
with five furnaces with two thousand pounds for each, or as much as 
three thousand pounds at most. Tr. 47 a 



The board that serves as a guide to the shape o the mortar ought 
therefore to be reduplicated from the centre backwards by the breadth 
of a great plank, to the end that it should not become twisted, and 
where this board has the impress of the frames and form of the cannon 
is the face not the edge, and when you add the tallow burnish this 
face with a pig's tooth so that it may be solid, and let the tallow be 
finely strained in order that as it turns it may not make marks. 



If you wish to break a krge mass of bronze suspend it first, then 
make a wall round it on the four sides in the shape of a hod for bricks, 
and make a great fire there; and when it is quite red-hot give it a blow 
with a great weight raised above it and do this with great force. 


[With two s\etches\ 

Make the courses for the bronze as is shown here just now; and keep 
d b c stopped up, but leave the course a entirely open; and when that 
is full unstop ^ and when that is full unstop c, and then d\ and the 
door of the courses should be of brick, the thickness of three fingers 
and well covered with ashes and then it is opened with the pincers; and 
branches of the courses when they also are cast ought to be divided 
with small plates of iron covered with earth before they are fastened. 

Tr. 48 a 


If you wish for the sake of economy to put lead with the metal, and 
in order to lessen the amount of the tin which is necessary, first alloy 
the lead with the tin and then put above the molten copper. 

The furnace should be between four pillars with strong foundations. 


The coating ought not to exceed the thickness of two fingers, and it 
ought to be laid on in four thicknesses over the fine clay and then well 
prepared, and it should be annealed only on the inside and then given 
a fine dressing of ashes and cattle dung. 


The mortar ought to carry a ball of six hundred pounds and more, 
and by this rule you will take the measure of the diameter of the ball 
and divide it in six parts, and one of these parts will be its thickness 
at the muzzle, and it will always be half at the breech. And if the ball 
is to be of seven hundred pounds one seventh of the diameter of the 
ball will be its thickness at the muzzle, and if the ball is to be eight 


hundred it will be the eighth of its diameter at the muzzle, and if 
nine hundred one eighth and one half of it, and if one thousand one 


If you wish it to throw a ball of stone, make the length of the tube 
as six or up to seven times the diameter of the ball; and if the ball is 
to be of iron make this tube up to twelve times the ball, and if the ball 
is to be of lead make it up to eighteen times. I mean when the mortar 
is to have its mouth fitted to receive within it six hundred pounds of 
*cone ball and over. 


The thickness of small cannon at the muzzle ought not to exceed 
from a third to a half of the diameter of the ball, nor the length from 
thirty to thirty six times its diameter. Tr. 49 a 


The furnace ought before you put the metal in it to be luted with 
earth from Valenza, and over that ashes. 


When you see that the bronze is on the point of becoming congealed 
take wood of the willow cut into small chips and make up the fire 
with it. 


I say the cause of this congealing is often derived from there being 
too much fire and also from the wood being only half-dried. 


You will know when the fire is good and suitable by the clear flames, 
and if you see the points of these flames turbid and ending in much 


smoke do not trust it, and especially when you have the molten metal 
almost in fluid state. 


Wood is suitable when it is the young willow, or if willow cannot be 
procured get alder, and let each branch be young and well dried. 


The metal used for bombards must invariably be made with six or 
even eight parts to a hundred, that is six parts of tin to one hundred 
of copper, but the less you put in the stronger will be the bombard. 


The tin should be put with the copper when you have the copper 
changed into a fluid state. 


You can expedite the process of melting when the copper is two- 
thirds changed to a fluid state. With a chestnut rod you will then be 
able frequently to manage to stir the remainder of the copper which 
is still in one piece amid the melted part. Tr. 50 a 


Take the dust of wool clippings and fix it on a wall in thin plaster 
so that it drives well. Then pound it and sift in fine powder, and to 
fifty parts of this powder add ten parts of brick, not over-baked 
and well pounded and sifted, also a small quantity of fine wool clip- 
pings or fustian cloth; and then to this compound add six parts of 
ashes which you will sift when moistened with water well salted; and 
this you will apply liquid and thin two or three times with a plasterer's 
brush, leaving it every time to dry without fire. Also it would be ad- 
visable to add first to this mixture ashes of burnt ox-dung moistened 
with salt water. 




H 1? 

W Se 

o o r^ 

_G ti r? 



u O 




The tallow ought to be applied mixed with soot from a blacksmith, 
and as fine as you can, or if you desire ashes of ox-dung. 


The frames should be made almost to the limit of the cord as though 
[one were winding] a peg-top, and above this the frames should be 
completed with fine earth and polished with the said tallow and soot, 
and the ornaments should be of wax. 


The frame of the tail ought to have as its final covering a square in 
which are brickdust and ashes with salt water. Or it is even better to 
apply ashes of ox-dung with salt water over the said frame. 


The frame should first be put in the trench with grappling-hooks as 
you saw before, then annealed little by little, emerging in the manner 
somewhat of the colour of brick (di pot lau [?] con uno negnietto) 
striking softly bit by bit, and where you hear it resound bind with 
iron wire, but in order not to go astray place it to turn everywhere. 


The earth to be generally used ought to be that of which bricks are 
made, mixed with ox-dung or clippings of woollen cloth. Tr. 51 a 

The bottom of the stove, three rows of unbaked bricks of ordinary 
clay and an inch and a half of ashes, the vault one layer of unbaked 
bricks of Valenza clay and another layer of baked bricks. 

Loose earth [?] x should be put with the ashes. 

The wood of the frame of the bombards should be covered an inch 
deep in cinders. 

*MS. i colossi 

Hoare's Ital. Diet. art. toscio has terra toscia, loose earth. 


The mouth of the stove, that is where the flame enters, ought to be 
of large bricks of Valenza clay. 

Each of two flues ought to be for the half of the window for the en- 
trance of the flame. Tr. 54 a 


Let the plumb-line be extended in two directions opposite to the 
centre of the poles a c, and let the plane surface be formed of plaster 
(MS. osseg= gesso) little by little under the movement of the 

And when the pavement is entirely finished the whole should be 
corrected again minutely with the 'sagoma'; and this 'sagoma' when 
used on the prepared surface (MS. otasseg=gessato) should be used 
with the greatest possible care. G 14 r. 

[O/ friction of the sagoma\ 

The friction of the polishing instrument against its surface ought 
not to be done with the edge of the instrument, except when first pre- 
paring the said surface. But when it is necessary to refine this surface 
then the instrument ought not to be of less width than half the sur- 
face. This may be proved: suppose / e d c to be the said polishing in- 
strument and / e n m the smoothed surface. I maintain that if this 
polishing instrument were to have only one cutting edge, as in d c 
with a b, it would have far greater weight when the perpendicular line 
was upon the part d c of the smoothed surface than when it was on 
the position / e of the said surface. And for this reason it would wear 
away the rubbed parts much more if it were straight than if it were 
slanting. And the concaveness of this surface would be unequal, such 
inequality as cannot be formed by the great contact of the polishing 
instrument with the surface which it polishes. 

But it would be better that the instrument and the surface should 
be the equal the one of the other, for when one of the sides of the in- 
strument was in the middle of the said surface its extremity would 
receive all the accidental weight of this instrument. 

1 A mould, also *an instrument for smoothing and polishing a surface* Ravaisson- 


But the polishing instrument with one cutting edge is necessary, 
merely in order to give the form to its smoothed surface by means of 
three or four movements, which should make it entirely perfect. 

G 16 r. 

The cogs that cause the movement of the sagoma set in their 
grooves. G 37 r. 

The sagoma should be as that used on the road of Fiesole with 

Because it is necessary that in proportion as the said instrument is 
lowered so it wears itself away, and as after having been lowered it 
becomes very strong it is therefore necessary to make the pulleys with 
nuts so that screws turn within them, and that it shuts and opens be- 
tween a c as b shows between a c, and that these rings which form 
nuts for the screws should be drawn with the cords d e f g. G 43 v. 


Mercury with Jupiter and Venus : 2 after the paste has been made it 
should be worked upon the sagoma continully until Mercury is entirely 
separated from Jupiter and Venus. G 46 v. 


Let the concavity be pressed with the instrument first several times 
backwards and forwards before it is varnished, then the varnish should 
be applied to the moist surface, and go over it with the sieve; use the 
mould two or three times, then expose it to the furnace, and when it 
acquires lustre immediately apply the mould while it is hot. 

The centre of the revolution of the mould upon the structure ought 
to be fixed, and such that it can be raised and lowered, and moved 
forward and backward, so that its ... falls upon the centre of the 

The base of the oven should be of the same shape as that of the 
object placed in the oven; and it is well that it should be of one piece 

1 Vernicie della igna. 

a i.e., according to Richter, quicksilver with iron and copper. 


of tufa stone, so that it can resist like an anvil the transverse percus- 
sion of the heavy mould which strikes it. G 47 r - 

Let the wood of the sagoma be well covered over with pitch (MS. 
otaicepni^=inpeciato) so that it may not bend. G 51 v. 

In the polishing instrument there is a space left in order to be able to 
insert the lead moulding, and so that one may be able to change these 
from time to time as they are consumed. And so with the emery, one 
will guide the 'male' of the fired surface to perfection, and upon this 
one will afterwards print the copper (MS. emar=rame) after it has 
been made absolutely smooth. 

N 9 surface, is of Saturn 1 and it serves for the process of smoothing 
conjoined with the motive power, m below, in margin. 

The motive power is Neptune. 

This will keep the object to be polished below and the polishing in- 
strument above; and the pole will find itself above, and so this pole not 
being weighed down as is that of the instrument represented above 
will come to maintain itself, and as it is not able to consume itself the 
process will be complete. 

Moreover the thing polished will support above itself the substance 
which polishes it, and the polishing instrument being of lead may be 
recast and adjusted many times. 

The mould may be of Venus, Jupiter or Saturn, and often cast back 
into the lap of its mother, and it may be worked over with fine emery; 
and the mould may be of Venus and Jupiter plastered over Venus. 

But first you will put to the test Venus and Mercury mixed with 
Jupiter, and manage so that Mercury may escape, and then roll them 
up tightly so that Venus and Jupiter become blended in Neptune as 
thinly as possible. 


This ought to be upside down, in order that the mould may weigh 
upon the surface it treats with a perpendicular weight. Thus the 
centre of the object in circumvolution will not consume itself, in order 
not to have the weight upon itself; and apart from this the polishing 
process will serve to receive and support it, as I have said in the first 
instance. G 53 r, 

*Lead, Richtef. 



Have a frame of stout walnut wood upon which build a square 
frame with raised centering, and upon this are fixed both ends of the 
drawn plate, which is separated at the end from the sides of the wall, 
carrying and holding with it all the plates that are nailed above. And 
this frame should always be with the above-mentioned dark plates, 

074 v. 


Cover with stucco the boss of the ... (ingnea?) of plaster, and let 
this be made of Venus and Mercury * and smear this boss well over 
with a uniform thickness of the blade of a knife, doing it with a rule 
(sagoma?) and cover this with the body of a beU so that it may drip, 
and you will have again the moisture with which you formed the 
paste: dry the rest well and then fire it, and beat or burnish it with a 
good burnisher, and make it thick towards the side. 

Powder the glass to a paste with borax and water, and make 
stucco; then drain it oflf so as to dry it, then varnish it with fire so that 
it shines well. G 75 v. 

If you wish to make a large thin metal plate of lead, make a smooth 
level surface and fill it with glowing coals and melt lead in it, and then 
with a smooth rake take away the coals and allow it to cool and it is 
made. Forster n 46 v. 

When you wish to cast in wax burn off the scum with a candle and 
the cast will come without holes. 

Grind verdigris with rue many times together with juice of lemon 
and keep it from Naples yellow. Forster ir 64 v. 

The steel is first beaten well for the length, then broken in squares, 
and these are placed one above another and well covered with earth 
of Valenza and powdered talc, and it is dried over a slow fire and 
gradually heated; and when it has been thoroughly heated both inside 

1 Ingnea, Venus and Mercury are written backwards in the text, i.e. they appear as 
aengni, erenev and oinicrem. Dr. Richter suggests that Venus and Mercury may mean 
'marble* and 'lime* of which stucco is composed. 


and out then the fire exerts its force and makes it become molten. Bur 
first insert flakes of iron, then have the earth gradually removed and 
beat it lengthwise; and this is good steel. Forster m 33 v. 

Dry earth sixteen pounds; a hundred pounds of metal; moistened 
earth twenty; moisten the hundred of metal which adds four pounds 
of water; one of wax, one pound of metal somewhat less; cloth clip- 
pings with earth measure for measure. Forster m 36 v. 

Two ounces of plaster to a pound of metal; [oil of] walnut eases it 
at the curve. Forster m 37 r, 


Take for every two cupfuls of plaster one of burnt ox-horn, and 
mix them together and make the cast. Forster m 39 v. 


Tartar burnt and powdered with plaster and used in casting causes 
such plaster to adhere together when it is annealed; then it is dis- 
solved in water. Forster m 42 v. 

For mirrors, thirty of tin upon a hundred of copper; but first clarify 
the two metals and plunge them in water and granulate them, and 
then fuse the copper and put it upon the tin. Forster in 87 v. 


Make the horse upon legs of iron, strong and firm in a good founda- 
tion. Then rub it with tallow and give it a good coating, letting it dry 
thoroughly layer by layer. And by this you will increase its thickness 
by the breadth of three fingers. Then fix and bind it with iron ac- 
cording to need. Besides this hollow out the mould, then get it to the 
required thickness, and then fill up the mould again by degrees and 
continue until it is entirely filled. Then bind it round with its irons 
and strap it up, and anneal it on the inner side where it has to touch 
the bronze. 



Mark upon the horse when finished all the pieces of the mould with 
which you wish to cover the horse, and after the clay has been laid on 
cut it to correspond in every piece, so that when the mould is finished 
you can take it off and then replace it in its first position with its 
catches by the countersigns. 

The square block a b will go between the cover and the core, that is 
in the hollow space where the liquefied bronze is to be; and these 
square blocks of bronze will keep the spaces between the mould and 
the cover at an equal distance, and for this reason these blocks are of 
great importance. 

The clay must be mixed with sand. 

Take wax to give back and to pay for what has been used. 

Dry one layer after another. Make the outer mould of plaster in 
order to save time in drying and the cost of wood; and with this 
plaster fasten the iron bands outside and inside for a thickness of two 
fingers; make terra cotta. 

And this mould you will take a day to make; half a boat-load of 
plaster will serve you. 


Stop it up again with paste and clay, or white of egg and brick and 
rubble. Windsor: Drawings 12347 r 

Three irons which bind the mould 1 

If you wish to make casts rapidly and simply, make them with a 
box of river sand moistened with vinegar. 

After having made the mould upon the horse you will make the 
thickness of the metal in clay. 

Note in alloying how may hours are needed for each hundred- 
weight. In casting each keep the furnace with its fire closed up. Let 
all the inside of the mould be saturated with linseed oil or turpentine. 
Then take a handful of powdered borax and hard rosin with aqua 
vitae and put a coat of pitch over the mould so that while under- 
ground the damp may not [injure it?]. 

In order to manage the large mould make a model of the small 
mould; make a small room in proportion. 

''I have followed Richter's order of arrangement in this passage. 

io 3 2 CASTING 

Make the vents in the mould while it is upon the horse. 

Hold the hoofs in tongs and cast them with fish-glue. 

Weigh the parts of the mould to find out what amount of metal it 
will take to fill them, and give so much to the furnace that it may 
supply each part with its quantity of metal; and this you will ascer- 
tain by weighing the clay of that part of the mould to which the 
quantity in the furnace has to correspond. And this is done so that the 
furnace that is for the legs fills them and does not have to supply 
metal for the head from the legs which would be impossible. 

Cast at the same casting as the horse the little door (sfortello) of 
the .... Windsor: Drawings 12350 


7/ anyone wishes to go through the whole place by 

the high-level roads, he will be able to use them for 

this purpose, and so also if anyone wishes to go by 

the low-level roads! 

IF THE usual width of the river is that o one arch construct this 
bridge with three, and do this in order to allow for the floods. 

C.A. 46 v. a 

[^Ground-plan of castle with la\e and boats on it] 
[The palace of the prince ought to have a piazza in front] 1 

The rooms which you mean to use for dancing or to make differ- 
ent kinds of jumps or various movements with a crowd of people, 
should be on the grrvn^rl fln^ for I have seen them collapse and so 
cause the death of many. And above all see that every wall, however 
thin it may be, has its foundations on the ground or on well-planted 

Let the mezzanines of the dwellings be divided by walls made of 
[narrow bricks, and without beams because of the risk of fire. 

All the privies should have ventilation openings through the thick- 
ness of the walls, and in such a way that air may come in through the 

Let the mezzanines be vaulted, and these will be so much the 
stronger as they are fewer in number. 

Let the bands of oak be enclosed in the walls to prevent them from 
being damaged by fire. 

Let the privies be numerous and be connected one with another, so 
that the smell may not spread through the rooms, and their doors 
should all close automatically. 
[Plans] Kitchens. Pantry. 

1 Words crossed out in MS. 



[Plans] Kitchens. Stable. Eighty braccia wide and a hundred and 
twenty braccia long in ground plan. Combats by means of the boats, 
that is the combatants may be upon the boats. Ditch forty braccia. 
Road below. 

At the angle a should be the keeper of the stable. 

The largest division of the front of this palace is in two parts, that 
is the width of the court is half the length of the aforesaid front. 

C.A. 76 v. b 
[With plan] 

Stable for the Magnifico, for the upper part, one hundred and ten 
braccia long and forty braccia wide. 
[With plan] 

Stable for the Magnifico, for the lower part, one hundred and ten 
braccia long, and forty braccia wide, and it is divided into four rows 
for horses, and each of these rows is divided into thirty-two spaces, 
called intercolumnar, and each intercolumnar space has a capacity for 
two horses, between which is interposed a swing-bar. 

This stable therefore has a capacity for a hundred and twenty-eight 
horses. C.A. 96 v. a 

[ Town-planning] 

Give me authority whereby without any expense to you it may come 
to pass that all the lands obey their rulers, who . . . 

The first renown will be eternal together with the inhabitants of the 
city built or enlarged by him. 

Let the bottoms of the reservoirs which are behind the gardens be 
as high as the level of the gardens, and by means of discharge-pipes 
they will be able to bring water to the gardens every evening every 
time that it rises, raising the joint half a braccio; and to this let the 
senior officials be appointed. 
[With plan] Canal. Weir. Garden. 

And nothing is to be thrown into the canals, and every barge is to be 
obliged to carry away so much mud from the canal, and this is after- 
wards to be thrown on the bank. 

[With plan] Construct in order to dry up the canal and to clean the 
(lesser) canals. 

All people obey and are swayed by their magnates, and these mag- 


nates ally themselves with and are constrained by their lords in two 
ways, either by blood-relationship or by the tie of property; blood- 
relationship when their sons, like hostages, are a surety and a pledge 
against any suspicion of their faith; the tie of property when you let 
each of them build one or two houses within your city, from which he 
may draw some revenue; and [in addition to this}* he will draw from 
ten cities of five thousng^ houses with thirty thouynr^ habitat-inn.^ and 
you will disperse so great a concourse of people, who, herding together 
like goats one upon the back of another filling every part with their 
stench, sow the seeds of pestilence and death. 

And the city will be of a beauty equal to its name, and useful to you 
for its revenues and the perpetual fame of its growth. 

The municipality of Lodi will bear the expense, and keep the 
revenue which once a year it pays to the Duke. 

To the stranger who has a house in Milan it will often befall that in 
order to be in a more imposing place he will go and live in his own 
house; and whoever is in a position to build must have some store of 
wealth, and in this way the poor people will become separated by such 
settlers, and when these . . . assessments will increase and the fame 
of its greatness. And even if he should not wish to reside in Milan 
he will still remain faithful, in order not to lose the profit of his house 
at the same time as the capital. C.A. 65 v. b 

[Architectural drawings: ground plans] 

Buttery. Kitchen. Family. 

He who is stationed in the buttery ought to have behind him the 
entrance to the kitchen, in order to be able to do his work expedi- 
tiously; and the window of the kitchen should be in the front of the 
buttery so that he may extract the wood. 

The drawing that I have made has a larger facade behind than in 
front, whereas it should be the opposite. 

The large room for the family away from the kitchen, so that the 
master of the house may not hear their clatter; and the kitchen may 
be convenient for washing the pewter so that it may not be seen being 
carried through the house. 

1 Words crossed out in MS. 


Large room for the master. Room. Kitchen. Larder. Guard Room, 
Large room for the family. 

Larder, logs, kitchen and hen-coop (? pottaro) and hall, and the 
apartment will be or ought to be in contact for the convenience that 
ensues; and the garden and stable, manure and garden, in contact. 
The large room for the master and that for the family should have 
the kitchen between them, and in both the food may be served 
through wide and low windows, or by tables that turn on swivels. 

The wife should have her own apartment and hall (sola) apart from 
that of the family, so that she may set her serving-maids to eat at an- 
other table in the same hall. She should have two other apartments as 
well as her own, one for the serving-maids the other for the wet 
nurses, and ample space for their utensils. 

I wish to have one door to close the whole house. C.A. 158 v. a 

The hall for the festival should be situated so that you come first 
into the presence of the lord, and then of the guests, and the passage 
should be so arranged that it enables you to enter the hall without 
passing in front of the people more than one may wish; and over on 
the other side opposite to the lord should be situated the entrance of 
the hall and a convenient staircase, which should be wide, so that the 
people in passing along them may not push against the masqueraders 
and damage their costumes, when going out . . . the crowd of men 
. . . with such masks . . . this hall . . . two rooms side by side . . 
right double ... of this an exit . . . collection and one for the 
masqueraders. C.A, 214 r. b 

[A flan for laying out a water-garden} 

The staircase is one braccio and three quarters wide and it is bent 
like a knee, and altogether it is sixteen braccia with thirty two steps 
half a braccio wide and a quarter high; and the landing where the 
staircase turns is two braccia wide and four long, and the wall which 
divides one staircase from the other is half a braccio; but the breadth 
of the staircase will be two braccia and the passage half a braccio 
wider; so that this large room will come to be twenty-one braccia 
long and ten and half braccia wide, and so it will serve well; and let 
us make it eight braccia high, although it is usual to make the height 
tally with the width; such rooms however seem to me depressing for 


they are always somewhat in shadow because of their great height, 
and the staircases would then be too steep because they would be 

By means o the mill I shall be able at any time to produce a current 
of air; in the summer I shall make the water spring up fresh and 
bubbling, and flow along in the space between the tables, which will 
be arranged thus [drawing}. The channel may be half a braccio wide, 
and there should be vessels there with wines always of the freshest, 
and other water should flow through the garden, moistening the 
orange trees and citron trees according to their needs. These citron 
trees will be permanent, because their situation will be so arranged that 
they can easily be covered over, and the warmth which the winter 
season continually produces will be the means of preserving them far 
better than fire, for two reasons: one is that this warmth of the 
springs is natural and is the same as warms the roots of all the plants; 
the second is that the fire gives warmth to these plants in an accidental 
manner, because it is deprived of moisture and is neither uniform nor 
continuous, being warmer at the beginning than at the end, and very 
often it is overlooked through the carelessness of those in charge of it. 

The herbage of the little brooks ought to be cut frequently so that 
the clearness of the water may be seen upon its shingly bed, and only 
those plants should be left which serve the fishes for food, such as 
watercress and other plants like these. 

The fish should be such as will not make the water muddy, that is to 
say eels must not be put there nor tench, nor yet pike because they 
destroy the other fish. 

By means of the mill you will make many water-conduits through 
the house, and springs in various places, and a certain passage where, 
when anyone passes, from all' sides below the water will leap up, and 
so it will be there ready in case anyone should wish to give a shower- 
bath from below to the women or others who shall pass there. 

Overhead we must construct a very fine net of copper which will 
cover over the garden and shut in beneath it many different kinds of 
birds, and so you will have perpetual music together with the scents of 
the blossom of the citrons and the lemons. 

With the help of the mill I will make unending sounds from all 


sorts of instruments, which will sound for so long as the mill shall 
continue to move. C.A. 271 v. a 

[The dimensions of a temple] 

You ascended by twelve flights of steps to the great temple, which 
is eight hundred feet in circumference and is built in the shape of an 
octagon. At the eight corners were eight large plinths a braccio and a 
half in height and three in width and six in length at the base, with an 
angle in the centre which served as the foundation for eight large 
pillars that rose to a height of twenty-four braccia above the base of the 
plinth, and on top of these stood eight capitals three braccia each [in 
length] and six wide. Above these followed architrave, frieze and 
cornice, four braccia and a half in height, carried on in a straight line 
from one pillar to another, and thus it surrounded the temple with a 
circuit of eight hundred braccia; between each of the pillars, as a 
support to this entablature, there stood ten large columns of the same 
height as the pillars, three braccia thick above their bases which were 
one braccio and a half in height. 

You ascended to this temple by twelve flights of steps, the temple 
being upon the twelfth, built in the shape of an .octagon, and above 
each angle rose a large pillar, and between the pillars were interposed 
ten columns of the same height as the pillars, which rose twenty-eight 
and a half braccia above the pavement. At this same height were placed 
architrave, frieze and cornice, which formed a circuit round the temple, 
eight hundred braccia in length and of uniform height. Within this 
circuit at the same level towards the centre of the temple at a distance 
of twenty-four braccia rise pillars and columns, corresponding to the 
eight pillars of the angles and the columns placed in the fagade. And 
they rise to the same height as those already mentioned, and above 
these pillars the continuous architrave goes back towards the pillars 
and columns first spoken of. C.A. 285 r. c 

Our ancient architects or such . . . commencing first of all with the 
Iti, who according to the discourses of Diodorus Siculus were the first 
builders and constructors of great cities, and of fortresses and buildings 
both public and private which had distinction, nobility and grandeur; 
and by reason of this their predecessors beheld with amazement and 


stupefaction the lofty and immense engines which seemed to them . . . 

C.A. 325 r. b 

An inverted arch is better for making a support than an ordinary 
one, because the inverted arch finds a wall below it which resists its 
weakness, while the ordinary arch finds where it is weakest nothing 
but air. Tr. 13 a 


An arch is nothing other than a strength caused by two weaknesses; 
for the arch in buildings is made up of two segments of a circle, and 
each of these segments being in itself very weak desires to fall, and as 
the one withstands the downfall of the other the two weaknesses are 
converted into a single strength. 


When once the arch has been set up it remains in a state of equi- 
librium, for the one side pushes the other as much as the other pushes 
it; but if one of the segments of the circle weighs more than the other 
the stability is ended and destroyed, because the greater weight will 
subdue the less. A 50 r. 

[With architectural drawing and plan] 

Ground plan of the pavilion which is in the middle of the labyrinth 
of the duke of Milan, 

Pavilion of the garden of the duchess of Milan. 1 

[With plan and drawing of fortification] 


With this square bastion you should make only two towers in order 
that having . . . that one may not impede the other; and at each tower 
you should make a bridge entering into the ravelin as is shown in the 

1 A document recently found at Como bearing the date March 28, 1490, consists of a 
contract for the supply of stone for a pavilion which 'Maestro Lionardo painter and 
architect* was to construct in Milan. 


drawing. The diameter of the square bastion should be a hundred 
braccia, and the diameter of each tower should be thirty braccia. 

The ravelins should be open within so that being so the enemy 
cannot maintain himself there, but is exposed to attack from the towers. 

B 12 r, 
[With architectural drawing} 

If you have your family in your house, make their habitations in 
such a way that at night neither they nor the strangers to whom you 
give lodging are in control of the egress of the house; in order that 
they may not be able to enter in the habitation where you live or sleep, 
close the exit m, and you will have closed the whole house. B 12 v. 

[With drawing of section of wall of a house] 

C is a stove which receives heat from the kitchen chimney by means 
of a copper flue two braccia high and one wide, and a stone is put 
over the place in summer in order that it may be possible to use the 
stove; b will be the place for keeping salt, and at the division a there 
will be an opening of a passage into the chimney for hanging up salted 
meats and such like things; and in the ceiling there will be many flues 
for the smoke, with different exits at the four sides of the chimney, so 
that if the north wind should begin to be troublesome the smoke may 
find an outlet on the other side. And the smoke proceeds to spread it- 
self through the numerous flues and to cure salted meats; tongues and 
sausages and things like these it brings to perfection. But see to it that 
when you push the small door a a window opposite opens, which gives 
light to the little room; and this will be done by means of a rod joined 
to the door and the window in this way. B 14 v. 

[With ground plan of fortress} 

A way of a fortress with double moat. And the spurs which pass 
from the principal wall to the Garland serve two uses: that is they 
form a buttress and they help in part to render it possible to defend the 
base of the Garland when the principal wall has been thrown down. 

B 15 r. 

[Note with plan of section of town showing high- and low-level roads'] 

The roads [marked] m are six braccia higher than the roads 

[marked] p S, and each road ought to be twenty braccia wide and have 


a fall of half a braccio from the edges to the centre. And in this centre 
at every braccio there should be an opening one braccio long and of 
the width of a finger, through which rain-water may drain off into 
holes made at the level of the roads p s. And on each side of the ex- 
tremity of the width of this road there should be an arcade six 
braccia broad resting on columns. And know that if anyone wishes 
to go through the whole place by the high-level roads, he will be able 
to use them for this purpose, and so also if anyone wishes to go by the 
low-level roads. 

The high-level roads are not to be used by waggons or vehicles such 
as these but are solely for the convenience of the gentlefolk. All carts 
and loads for the service and convenience of the common people should 
be confined to the low-level roads. 

One house has to turn its back on another, leaving the low-level 
road between them. The doors n serve for the bringing in of provisions 
such as wood and wine and suchlike things. The privies, the stables 
and suchlike noisome places are emptied by underground passages, 
situated at a distance of three hundred braccia from one arch to the 
next, each passage receiving its light through the openings in the streets 
above. And at every arch there should be a spiral staircase; it should be 
round because in the corners of square ones nuisances are apt to be 
coiAimitted. At the first turn there should be a door of entry into the 
privies and public urinals, and this staircase should enable one to de- 
scend from the high-level to the low-level road. 

The high-level roads begin outside the gates, and when they reach 
them they have attained a height of six braccia. The site should be 
chosen near to the sea or some large river, in order that the impurities 
of the city which are moved by water may be carried far away. 

B 16 r. and 15 v. 

The earth which is dug out from the cellars ought to be raised at 
one side so as to construct a terrace garden at the same level as the hall; 
but see that between the earth of the terrace garden and the wall of the 
house there is an intervening space, so that damp may not spoil the 
principal walls. J 9 v - 


[With drawing and ground plan of church] 

This edifice is inhabited both in the upper and in the lower part. 
The entrance to the upper part is by way of the campaniles, and it goes 
along the level on which rest the four drums of the dome, and the said 
level has a parapet in front of it. And none of these drums communi- 
cates with the church but they are entirely separate. B 24 r. 

Let the street be as wide as the universal height of the houses. 

B 36 r. 

[Cartle of Milan] 
[With drawing} 

The moats of the castle of Milan within the Garland are thirty 
braccia; the ramparts are sixteen braccia high and forty wide, and this 
is the Garland. 

The outer walls are eight braccia thick and forty high, and the inner 
walls of the castle are sixty braccia, which would please me entirely if 
it were not that I should wish to see that the bombardiers who are in 
the walls o the Garland do not issue forth in the secret inner way, that 
is in 5, but lower themselves one at a time as appears in m f. 

Since good bombardiers always aim at the embrasures of fortresses, 
and can if they break a single embrasure in the said Garland enter like 
cats through this breach and make themselves masters of all the towers, 
walls, and secret passages of the Garland, therefore if the embrasures 
are m f and it shall come about that a mortar bursts one of these em- 
brasures and the enemy enters within, they will not be able to pass 
farther but may be beaten back and driven away by a soldier stationed 
in the machicolations above; and the passage / ought to be continued 
through all the walls from three quarters downwards and without hav- 
ing any exit above, either in the walls or the towers, except that by 
which one enters, which will have its beginning within the fortress; 
and the above-mentioned secret passage / ought not to have any air- 
hole on the outside but to get its light on the side of the fortress 
through the frequent loopholes. B 36 v. 


[Wit A drawing] 
The way in which one should construct a stable: you will first di- 


vide its width in three parts, its length does not matter; and these three 
divisions should be equal, each being six braccia wide and ten high. 
The centre part should be for the use o the master of the stable, the 
two at the sides for the horses, each requiring for width three braccia 
and for length six braccia, and being half a braccio higher in front than 

The manger should be two braccia from the ground, the beginning 
of the rack three braccia, and the top of it four braccia. 

To attempt however to keep my promise, namely to make the said 
place contrary to the usual custom clean and neat: as to the upper 
portion of the stable, that is, where the hay is, this part should have at 
its outer end a window six [? braccia] high and six wide, by which 
hay can easily be brought up to the loft as is shown in the machine E\ 
and this should be erected in a place six braccia in breadth and as long 
as the stable, as is shown in K p. The other two parts, which have the 
first between them, are each divided into two parts. The two towards 
the hay are four braccia, and are entirely for the use and passage of the 
stable attendants; the other two which extend to the outside walls are 
two braccia, as is shown in S R 9 and these are for the purpose of giving 
the hay to the manger, by means of funnels narrow at the top, and 
broad above the mangers* so that the hay may not be stopped on the 
way. They should be well plastered and cleaned, as they are repre- 
sented where it is marked 4 / s. In order that the horses may be given 
water the troughs should be of stone, so made as to be able to be un- 
covered as are boxes by raising their lids. B 39 r. 

A building ought always to be detached all round in order that its 
true shape can be seen. P. 39 v. 

[Dr during of castle showing staircases] 

Here are five staircases with five entrances; and one is not visible to 
another and when anyone is in one he cannot go into another; and it is 
a good system for those who are maintained there, in that it prevents 
them from mingling with each other, and being separated they will be 
ready for the defence of the tower: this can be either round or square. 

B 471. 
[With drawing\ 

Ten spiral staircases round a tower. B 47 v. 


[With plan of ravelin] 

The ramparts placed in front o the doors of the ravelin should be 
solid, except for the winding staircase placed in the centre in order to 
connect with the battlements above, and one enters into this staircase 
by subterranean passages. B 49 v. 

[With drawings} 

A represents the upper church of San Sepolcro at Milan. 
B is the part of it below the ground. B 57 r. 

[With dratving] 

Where you do not wish to have a portico round the whole of a 
courtyard, but that only one or two of the four sides should have the 
portico, make the others also with the same arrangement of columns, 
and surround the arches with an architrave on the inner side which de- 
scends as far as the bases of the columns. 

And make the windows within the said architraves, and in the same 
way place the chief beams within the rooms in such a manner as to 
come between one window and the other. B 67 v. 

[With drawing] 

Double staircase. One for the commander of the castle, the other 
for the garrison. B 68 v. 


Architraves of several pieces are stronger than those of merely one 
piece, if these pieces are so placed that their lengths point to the centre 
of the earth. This is proved from the fact that the stones have their 
marking, or vein, usually crosswise, that is in the direction of the 
opposite horizons of the same hemisphere, and this is the contrary to 
the vein, of plants which have. ... G 52 r. 

[Of arch and support] 

The continuous quantity bent by force into a curve pushes itself in 
the direction of the line into which it desires to return. H 35 v. 

That part of the continuous quantity will make a greater movement 
which is more distant from the part which moves less. 


That side of the support of which the upper part is the heavier will 
bend in a curve towards its centre. H 36 v. 

The sides of every defined quantity which has been raised in a 
pyramidal heap will be of the slant of the angular diameter of the 
perfect square. H 37 r. 

[For decorating a room] 

The narrow moulding at the top of the room thirty lire. 

For the moulding below this,, I reckon each panel at seven lire, and, 
in expenses on azure, gold, white-lead, gypsum, indigo and size, three 
lire; time three days. 

The subjects under these mouldings with their pilasters, twelve lire 
for each. 

I estimate the cost of enamel, azure and gold, and other colours at 
one lira and a half. 

I allow five days for studying the composition, the small pilaster and 
other things. 

Item for each small arch seven lire. 

Cost of azure and gold three and a half lire. 

Time four days. 

For the windows one and a half lire. 

The large cornice below the windows sixteen soldi the braccio. 

Item for the Roman historical compositions fourteen lire each. 

The philosophers ten lire. 

The pilasters one ounce of azure, ten soldi. 

For gold fifteen soldi. 

I estimate [this azure and gold] at two and a half lire. 

H 125 [18 v.] r. and 124 [19 r.] v. 

[Drawing of church with section of ground plan] 

Both lower and upper part of this edifice are usable, as in San 
Sepolcro, and it is similar in its upper and lower parts except that the 
upper part has the cupola c d and the lower the cupola a b. As you 
enter the lower church you descend ten steps, and when you go up into 
that above you ascend twenty steps, which reckoning each as a third 
of a braccio comes to ten braccia. This then is the distance there is 
between the level of the one church and of the other. 

MS. 2037 Bib. Nat. 4 r. 


[With, architectural drawing] 

Here a campanile neither can nor ought to be made. 

Rather must it stand separate, as it does in the cathedral, or at San 
Giovanni in Florence; and so also the cathedral at Pisa, for there the 
campanile may be seen by itself round in shape and standing apart, 
as also is the cathedral. And each by itself can reveal its perfection, 

If however anyone should desire to make it part of the church he 
should make the lantern-tower serve as a campanile, as it does in the 
church of Chiaravalle. MS. 2037 Bib. Nat. 5 v. 

Mills should not be built by stagnant water, nor by the side of the 
sea, because the storms choke up with sand every canal that is made 
upon its shores. B.M. 63 v. 


The first and most essential requisite is stability. 

As regards the foundations of the component parts of temples and 
other public buildings, their depths should bear the same relation one 
to another as do the weights which are to rest upon them. 

Each section of the depth of the earth in a given space is arranged 
in layers, the layers having each a heavier and a lighter part, the heavier 
being at the bottom. 

This comes from the fact that these layers are formed by the sedi- 
ment from the water discharged into the sea by the current of the 
rivers which are poured into it. 

The heaviest part of this sediment was the part that was discharged 
first, and this process continued. 

And this is the action of the water when it becomes stationary, and 
it is carrying it away at first where it moves. 

These layers of soil are visible in the banks of rivers which in their 
continuous course have sawn through and divided one hill from an- 
other in a deep defile, wherein the level of the waters has receded from 
the shingle of the banks, and this has caused the substance to become 
dry and to be changed to hard stone, especially such mud as was of 
the finest texture. And this leads us to conclude that each part of the 
earth's surface was once the centre of the earth, and so conversely. 



A wall will always crack whea it does not dry uniformly at the same 

A wall of uniform thickness does not all become dry at the same 
time unless it is in contact with an equal medium; thus if a wall be so 
built that part of it touches a damp mound while the rest is exposed 
to the atmosphere, this latter part will become somewhat contracted 
while the damp portion will retain its original size. 

For the part which becomes dried by the atmosphere draws itself 
together and shrinks, and the part in contact with die damp does not 
become dry, and the dry part readily breaks away from the damp part 
is this has not the coherence necessary for it to follow the movement 
of the part that is in process of becoming dry. 


Those arched cracks wide above and narrow below have their 
origin in walled-up doorways, which contract more in length than in 
width in proportion as their height is greater than their breadth, and 
as the joins of the mortar are more numerous in the height than in 
the breadth. B^C. 138 r. 

When either a complete dome or a half dome is vanquished above by 
an insupportable weight, the vault will burst asunder, the crack being 
small in the upper part and broad below, and narrow on the inner side 
and wide on the outer side, after the manner of the skin of a pome- 
granate or orange which splits into many parts lengthwise, for the 
more it is pressed upon from the opposite ends, the wider asunder will 
those parts of the joints open which are farthest away from the cause 
of the pressure. And for this reason the arches of the vaults of any apse 
should never be loaded more than the arches o the building of which 
it forms a part, especially because that which weighs most presses most 
heavily upon the parts below it and drives them down upon their 
foundations; but this cannot happen with lighter things such as the 
aforesaid apses. B.M. 141 v. 


Make first a treatise of the causes which bring about the collapse of 
walls, and then, separately, a treatise of the remedies. 

Parallel cracks are constantly appearing in buildings erected in moun- 
tainous places where the rocks are stratified and the stratification runs 
obliquely, for, in these oblique seams, water and other moisture often 
penetrates, bearing with it a quantity of greasy and slimy earth; and 
since this stratification does not continue down to the bottom of the 
valleys the rocks go slipping down their slope, and never end their 
movement until they have descended to the bottom of the valley, car- 
rying with them after the manner of a boat such part of the building 
as they have severed from the rest. 

The remedy for this is to build numerous piers under the wall which 
is slipping away, with arches from one to another, and well-rooted [ P] 1 
[ Pbuttressed] and let the pillars have their bases firmly set in the strati- 
fied rock so that they may not break away. 

In order to find the immovable part of the aforesaid stratum, it is 
necessary to sink a shaft through it to a great depth beneath the foot of 
the wall, and in this shaft to polish a smooth surface of the breadth of 
a hand from the top to the bottom of the side on which the hill slopes 
down. At the end of some time this smooth portion made on the side of 
the shaft will show very plainly which part of the mountain is moving. 

B.M. 157 r. 


Stones which are built up with an equal number from bottom to top 
and laid with an equal quantity of mortar, will settle down equally as 
the moisture which softens the mortar evaporates. 

Cracks in walls will never be parallel unless the part of the wall 
which is separated from the rest does not descend. 


Stability of buildings results from a law the converse of the two fore- 
going, namely that the walls should be built up all equally in equal 

1 MS. abarbanaA. 


stages, which should embrace the whole circuit of the building and the 
^otal thickness of the walls no matter of what kind; and although the 
thin wall dries more rapidly than a thick one it will not have to break 
as the result of the weight which it may acquire from one day to an- 
other; for if a double quantity of it were to dry in one day, a wall of 
double the thickness would dry in two days or thereabouts, and so a 
slight difference in weight would be balanced by a slight difference 
of time. 


When the crack in a wall is wider at the top than at the bottom it is 
a clear sign that the source of the destruction of the wall lies outside 
the perpendicular of the crack. B.M. 157 v. 


Walls collapse as a result of cracks which are either vertical or slant- 
ing. Cracks which proceed vertically are caused by new walls being 
built in conjunction with old walls either vertically or with toothings 
fitted into the old walls; for as these toothings cannot offer any resist- 
ance to the insupportable weight of the wall joined on to them they 
must needs break and allow the new wall to settle down, in which 
process it will sink a braccio in every ten, or more or less according to 
the greater or smaller quantity of mortar used for the stones in the 
construction, and whether the mortar is very liquid or not. And remem- 
ber always to build the walls first and then add the facing stones, 
because unless this is done, since the subsidence of the wall in settling 
will be greater than that of the outer shell, the toothings set in the sides 
of the wall will necessarily be broken, because the stones used for facing 
the walls being larger than the stones used in their construction will of 
necessity take a less quantity of mortar in their joints, and therefore the 
subsidence will be less. But this cannot happen if the facing of the wall 
is added after the wall has had time to dry. B.M. 158 r. 



[With diagrams] 

Let the houses be transported and arranged in order, and this can be 
done with ease because these houses are first made in parts upon the 
open places, and are then fitted together with their timbers on the spot 
where they are to remain. 

Let fountains be made in each piazza. 

Let the countryfolk dwell in parts of the new houses when the court 
is not there. B.M. 270 v. 

Cover of the preaching place of the castle. Forster n 70 v. 

That angle will have the greatest power of resistance which is most 
acute, and the most obtuse will be the weakest. Forster n 87 v. 


[With drawing] 

Here it is shown how the arches made in the sides of the octagon 
push the columns of the angles outwards, as is shown in the line h c 
and in the line / d, which push the column m outwards, that is they 
exert pressure to drive it from the centre of this octagon. 

Forster n 93 r. 

That part of the bulk of the lower support will be more weighed 
down upon which is nearer the centre of the weight supported by it. 

Forster in 13 v. 

That in the canals nothing be thrown, and that these canals go 
straight to the houses. Forster in 23 v. 

The hall of the court is one hundred and twenty-eight steps long and 
its breadth is twenty-seven braccia. Forster in 49 v. 


The height of the walls of the courtyard should be half its length, 
that is if the courtyard be forty braccia the house ought to be twenty 


high in the walls of the said courtyard, and this courtyard should be 
half the width of the whole front. Windsor: Drawings 12585 v. 

[Wafer-stair in the Sforzesca] 

When the descent from the floodgates has been so hollowed out that 
at the end of its drop it is below the bed of the river, the waters which 
descend from them will never form a cavity at the foot of the bank, 
and will not carry away soil in their rebound, and so they will not 
proceed to form a fresh obstacle but will follow the transverse course 
along the length of the base of the floodgate from the under side. 
Moreover if the lowest part of the bank which lies diagonally across the 
course of the waters be constructed in deep broad steps after the man- 
ner of a staircase, the waters which as they descend in their course are 
accustomed to fall perpendicularly from the beginning of this lowest 
stage, and dig out the foundations of the bank, will not be able any 
longer to descend with a blow of irresistible force. 

And I give as an example of this the stair down which the water falls 
from the meadows of the Sforzesca at Vigevano, for the running water 
falls down it for a height of fifty braccia. Leic. 21 r. 

[With drawing] 

Stairs of Vigevano, below the Sforzesca, with one hundred and thirty 
steps a quarter of a braccio high and half a braccio wide, down which 
the water falls without wearing away anything as it finishes its fall; 
and by these stairs so much soil has come down as to have dried up a 
swamp, that is by having filled it up; and it has formed meadows from 
swamps of great depth. Leic. 32 r. 



'Music which is consumed in the very act of its 
birth! (TRATTATO i 29) 

Music has two ills, the one mortal the other wasting; the mortal is ever 
allied with the instant which follows that of the music's utterance, the 
wasting lies in its repetition, making it seem contemptible and mean. 

C.A. 382 v. a 
[With drawing] 

This is the manner of movement of the bow of the viol-player; and 
if you make the notches of the wheel in two different sizes [ ?] (tempi), 
so that one set of teeth are less than the other and they do not meet 
together as is seen in a b, the bow will have an equal movement, other- 
wise it will go in jerks. But if you make it in the way I say the pinion 

will always move equally. B 50 v. 


Here you make a wheel with pipes that serve as clappers for a musical 
round called a Canon, which is sung in four parts, each singer singing 
the whole round. And therefore I make here a wheel with four cogs so 
that each cog may take the part of a singer. B.M. 137 v. 

I have several cords drawn in octaves the one above the others, and 
I wish that each may be drawn a finger more than before. I ask what 
weight will that be which will draw it, being of equal size or of double 
size, and what sound will remain. Forster n 35 v. 

Of the music of water falling into its vessel. Leic. 27 r. 

With the help of the mill I will make unending sounds from all 
sorts of instruments, which will sound for so long as the mill shall 
continue to move. C.A. 271 v. a 



7 will create a fiction which shall express great things. 9 

A CERTAIN man gave up associating with one of his friends because the 
latter had a habit of talking maliciously against all his friends. This 
friend whom he had left was once reproaching him, and after many 
complaints besought him to tell him the reason that had caused him to 
lose the recollection of so great a friendship as theirs; to which he made 
reply: I am not willing to be seen in your company any more because 
I like you, and I do not wish that by talking maliciously to others of 
me who am your friend, you may cause them to form a bad impression 
of you, as I have, through your talking maliciously to them of me who 
am your friend. Consequently as we have no more to do with each 
other it will appear that we have become enemies, and the fact that you 
talk of me maliciously, as is your habit, will not be so much worthy of 
rebuke as if we were constantly in each other's company. 

CJL. 306 v. b 

Dear Benedetto, To give you the news of the things here from the 
east, you must know that in the month of June there appeared a giant 
who came from the Libyan desert. This giant was born on Mount 
Atlas, and was black, and he fought against Artaxerxes with the Egyp- 
tians and Arabs, the Medes and Persians; he lived in the sea upon the 
whales, the great leviathans and the ships. When the savage giant 
fell by reason of the ground being covered over with blood and mire, 
it seemed as though a mountain had fallen; whereat the country 
[shook] as though there were an earthquake, with terror to Pluto in 
Hell, and Mars fearing for his life fled for refuge under the side of 
Jove. 1 

X MS., Martff temedo dela vita sera fugito sotto lato dj giove. These words in 
Leonardo's writing occur at the side and are not found in the transcript o the Italian 
edition. I have ventured to insert them where they seemed to fit the sense best, and also 
to change the order of some of the sentences which are written in the margin. 


1054 TALES 

And from the violence o the shock he lay prostrate on the level 
ground as though stunned; until suddenly the people believing that he 
had been killed by some thunderbolt, began to turn about his great 
beard; and like a flock of ants that range about hither and thither 
furiously among the brambles beaten down by the axe of the sturdy 
peasant, so these are hurrying about over his huge limbs and piercing 
them with frequent wounds. 

At this the giant being roused and, perceiving himself to be almost 
covered by the crowd, suddenly on feeling himself smarting from their 
stabs, uttered a roar which seemed as though it were a terrific peal of 
thunder, and set his hands on the ground and lifted up his awe- 
inspiring countenance; and then placing one of his hands upon his 
head, he perceived it to be covered with men sticking to the hairs after 
the fashion of tiny creatures which are sometimes harboured there, 
and who, as they clung to the hairs and strove to hide among them, 
were like sailors in a storm who mount the rigging in order to lower 
the sail and lessen the force of the wind; and at this point he shook 
his head and sent the men flying through the air after the manner of 
hail when it is driven by the fury of the winds, and many of these 
men were found to be killed by those who fell on them like a tempest. 
Then he stood erect, trampling upon them with his feet. 

C.A. 311 r. a 

Note. This and the two pieces that follow seem parts of a fantastic tale 
written in the form of letters. 

The black visage at first sight is most horrible and terrifying to look 
upon, especially the swollen and bloodshot eyes set beneath the awful 
lowering eyebrows which cause the sky to be overcast and the earth to 

And believe me there is no man so brave but that, when the fiery 
eyes were turned upon him, he would willingly have put on wings in 
order to escape, for the face of infernal Lucifer would seem angelic by 
contrast with this. 

The nose was turned up in a snout with wide nostrils and sticking 
out of these were quantities of large bristles, beneath which was the 
arched mouth, with the thick lips, at whose extremities were hairs like 

TALES 1055 

those of cats, and the teeth were yellow; and from the top of his in- 
step he towered above the heads of men on horseback. 

And as his cramped position had been irksome, and in order to rid 
himself of the importunity of the throng, his rage turned to frenzy, 
and he began to let his feet give vent to the frenzy which possessed his 
mighty limbs, and entering in among the crowd he began by his kicks 
to toss men up in the air, so that they fell down again upon the rest, 
as though there had been a thick storm of hail, and many were those 
who in dying dealt out death. And this barbarity continued until such 
time as the dust stirred up by his great feet, rising up in the air, com- 
pelled his infernal fury to abate, while we continued our flight. 

Alas, how many attacks were made upon this raging fiend to whom 
every onslaught was as nothing. O wretched folk, for you there avail 
not the impregnable fortresses, nor the lofty walls of your cities, nor 
the being together in great numbers, nor your houses or palaces! There 
remained not any place unless it were the tiny holes and subterranean 
caverns where after the manner of crabs and crickets and creatures like 
these you might find safety and a means of escape. Oh, how many 
wretched mothers and fathers were deprived of their children! How 
many unhappy women were deprived of their companions! In truth, 
my dear Benedetto, I do not believe that ever since the world was 
created there has been witnessed such lamentation and wailing of 
people, accompaned by so great terror. In truth, the human species in 
such a plight has need to envy every other race of creatures; for though 
the eagle has strength sufficient to subdue the other birds, they yet 
remain unconquered through the rapidity of their flight, and so the 
swallows through their speed escape becoming the prey of the falcon, 
and the dolphins also by their swift flight escape becoming the prey of 
the whales and of the mighty leviathans; but for us wretched mortals 
there avails not any flight, since this monster when advancing slowly 
far exceeds the speed of the swiftest courser. 

I know not what to say or do, for everywhere I seem to find myself 
swimming with bent head within the mighty throat and remaining 
indistinguishable in death, buried within the huge belly. 

C.A. 96 v. b 
[A fantasy (in Brobdingnag) ] 

He was blacker than a hornet: his eyes were as red as a burning fire 

1056 TALES 

and he rode on a big stallion six spans across and more than twenty 
long; with six giants tied to his saddle bow and one in his hand which 
he gnawed with his teeth; and behind him came boars with tusks 
sticking out o their mouths, perhaps ten spans. i 139 [91] r. 

The gentle friar was charmed and delighted: he has already obliged 
the philosophers to search for our cause in order to feed the intellect. 

M 80 v. 

A workman who was in the habit of often going to wait upon a cer- 
tain lord without having any petition to make to him, was asked by 
the lord what his purpose was in coming; he replied that he went there 
to have one of the pleasures that he could not have, for it gave him 
pleasure to look at people who were grander than himself, as is the 
way with common folk, whereas the lord could only look at people 
who were of less account than himself, and consequently lords were 
cut off from this pleasure. Forster in 34 v. 


'You should often amuse yourself when you ta\e 
a waU{ for recreation, in watching and taking note 
of the attitudes and actions of men as they talJ^ and 
dispute, or laugh or come to blows one with another, 
both their actions and those of the bystanders who 
either intervene or stand looking on at these things! 


A PRIEST while going the round o his parish on the Saturday before 
Easter in order to sprinkle the houses with holy water as was his cus- 
tom, coming to the studio of a painter, and there beginning to sprinkle 
the water upon some of his pictures, the painter turning round with 
some annoyance asked him why he sprinkled his pictures in this man- 
ner. The priest replied that it was the custom and that it was his duty 
to act thus, that he was doing a good deed and that whoever did a 
good deed might expect a recompense as great or even greater; for so 
God had promised that for every good deed which we do on the 
earth we shall be rewarded a hundredfold from on high. Then the 
painter, having waited until the priest had made his exit, stepped to 
the window above and threw a large bucket of water down on to- his 
back, calling out to him: 'See there is the reward that comes to you 
a hundredfold from on high as you said it would, on account of the 
good deed you did me with your holy water with which you have 
half ruined my pictures'. C.A. 119 r. a 

The Franciscan friars at certain seasons have periods of fasting, dur- 
ing which no meat is eaten in their monasteries, but if they are on a 
journey, as they are then living on almsgiving, they are allowed to eat 
whatever is set before them. Now a couple of these friars travelling 
under these conditions chanced to alight at an inn at the same time as 


io 5 8 JESTS 

a certain merchant and sat down at the same table, and on account o 
the poverty of the inn nothing was served there except one roasted 
cockerel. At this the merchant as he saw that it would be scant fare 
for himself turned to the friars and said: 'On days like these if I 
remember rightly you are not permitted in your monasteries to eat 
any kind o meat/ The friars on hearing these words were constrained 
by their rule to admit without any attempt at argument that this was 
indeed the case: so the merchant had his desire and devoured the 
chicken, and the friars fared as best they could. 

Now after having dined in this wise all three table-companions set 
out on their journey together, and having gone a certain distance they 
came to a river of considerable breadth and depth, and as they were 
all three on foot, the friars by reason of their poverty and the other 
from niggardliness, it was necessary according to the custom of the 
country that one of the friars who had no shoes and stockings should 
carry the merchant on his shoulders; and consequently the friar hav- 
ing given him his clogs to hold took the man on his back. But as it 
so happened the friar when he found himself in the middle of the 
stream bethought himself of another of his rules, and coming to a 
standstill after the manner of St. Christopher raised his head towards 
him who was weighing heavily upon him and said: 'Just te ll me > 
have you any money about you?* 'Why you know quite well that I 
have,* replied the other. 'How do you suppose a merchant like me 
could travel about otherwise?' 'Alas!' said the friar, 'our rule forbids 
us to carry any money on our backs'; and he instantly threw him into 
the water. 

As the merchant was conscious that this was done as a jest and out 
of revenge for the injury he had done them he smiled pleasantly and 
pacifically, and blushing considerably from shame he endured their 
revenge. C.A. 150 v. b 

If Petrarch loved the laurel so much it was because it is good with 
sausages and thrushes; I don't attach any value to their trifles. 

Tr. i a 

Frati santi spells Pharisees. 1 Tr. 63 a 

1 MS. f onset. 

JESTS 1059 


On an old man openly reviling a young one and boldly proclaiming 
that he had no fear of him, the young one made answer that his ad- 
vanced age served him better as a protection than either his tongue or 
his strength. Tr. 71 a 

Why the Hungarians keep the double cross. H 62 [14] v. 

A man wishing to prove on the authority of Pythagoras that he had 
been in the world on a former occasion, and another not allowing him 
to conclude his argument, the first man said to the second: 'And this 
is a token that I was here on a former occasion, I remember that you 
were a miller.' The other who felt provoked by his words agreed that 
it was true, for he also remembered as a token that the speaker had 
been the ass which had carried the flour for him. 

A painter was asked why he had made his children so ugly, when 
his figures which were dead things he had made so beautiful. His reply 
was that he made his pictures by day and his children at night. 

M 58 v. 

A sick man who was at the point of death heard someone knocking 
at the door, and on his asking one of his servants who it was who was 
knocking at the door, this servant made answer that it was someone 
who called herself Madame Bona. 

Whereat the sick man raised his arms to heaven and praised God 
with a loud voice, and then told the servants to let her in immediately 
in order that he might see a good woman before he died, because in 
all his life he had never seen one. Forster n 30 v, 

It was said to someone that he should rise from his bed because the 
sun had already risen; to which he made answer: 'If I had to make as 
long a journey and to do as much as he I too should have already 
risen; but as I have such a short way to go I do not wish to get up 
yet awhile/ Forster n 31 r. 


mirror bears itself proudly, holding the queen 
mirrored within it, and after she has departed the 
mirror remains abject' 

THE privet on feeling its tender branches, laden with new fruit, pricked 
by the sharp claws and beak of the troublesome blackbird, complained 
to her with pitiful reproaches, beseeching her that even if she plucked 
off her delicious fruit she would at any rate not deprive her of her 
leaves which protected her from the scorching rays of the sun, nor 
with her sharp claws rend away and strip bare her tender bark. 

But to this the blackbird replied with insolent rebuke: 'Silence! 
rude bramble! Know you not that Nature has made you to produce 
these fruits for my sustenance ? Cannot you see that you came into the 
world in order to supply me with this very food? Know you not, vile 
thing that you are, that next winter you will serve as sustenance and 
food for the fire? 5 To which words- the tree listened patiently and not 
without tears. 

But a short time afterwards the blackbird was caught in a net, and 
some boughs were cut to make a cage in order to imprison her, and 
among the rest were some cut from the tender privet to serve for the 
rods of the cage; and these on perceiving that they would be the cause 
of the blackbird being deprived of liberty rejoiced and uttered these 
words: 'We are here, O blackbird, not yet consumed by the fire as 
you said; we shall see you in prison before you see us burnt/ 

The laurel and the myrtle, on seeing the pear-tree being cut down, 
cried out with a loud voice: 'O pear-tree, where are you going? 
Where is the pride that you had when you were laden with ripe fruit ? 
Now you will no longer make shade for us with your thick foliage.' 
Then the pear-tree replied: 'I am going with the husbandman who 
is cutting me down and who will take me to the workshop of a good 


FABLES 1061 

sculptor, who by his art will cause me to assume the form of the god 
Jove, and I shall be dedicated in a temple and worshipped by men in 
place of Jove. While you are obliged to remain always maimed and 
stripped of your branches which men shall set around me in order to 
do me honour.' 

The chestnut seeing a man upon the fig-tree bending its branches 
down towards himself and picking off their ripe fruit and putting it in 
his mouth, tearing it asunder and crushing it with his hard teeth, shook 
its boughs and said in a mournful whisper: 'Q fig-tree, how much 
less favoured by Nature are you than I. Look how with me my sweet 
children all are arranged in close order, clothed first with a fine jacket 
over which is set the hard rough husk; and not content with confer- 
ring such benefits on me she has given them a strong dwelling, and set 
about it sharp close prickles so that the hands of man may not be able 
to harm me.' At this the fig-tree and her children began to laugh, and 
when they had finished laughing she said: 'Know that man is of such 
a disposition that, as you have found, by means of rods and stones 
and sticks thrown into your branches he will deprive you of your 
fruit, and after it has fallen will crush it with his feet or with stones, 
in such a way that your offspring will issue forth from their armoured 
house crushed and bruised. But I am touched carefully by his hands 
and not as you are with sticks and stones.' 

The idle fluttering moth, not contented with its power to fly wher- 
ever it pleased through the air, enthralled by the seductive flame of 
the candle, resolved to fly into it, and its joyous movement was the 
occasion of instant mourning. For in the said flame its delicate wings 
were consumed, and the wretched moth having fallen down at the 
foot of the candlestick, all burnt, after much weeping and contrition, 
wiped the tears from its streaming eyes, and lifting up its face ex- 
claimed: 'O false light, how many are there like me who have been 
miserably deceived by you in times past! Alas! If my one desire was 
to behold the light, ought I not to have distinguished the sun from 
the false glimmer of filthy tallow?' 

A nut which found itself carried by a crow to the top of a lofty 
campanile, having there fallen into a crevice and so escaped its deadly 
beak, besought the wall by that grace which God had bestowed upon 

1062 FABLES 

it in causing it to be so exalted and great, and so rich in having bells 
o such beauty and of such mellow tone, that it would deign to give 
it succour; that insomuch as it had not been able to drop beneath its 
old father's green branches and lie in the fallow earth covered by his 
fallen leaves the wall would not abandon it, for when it found itself 
in the fierce crow's cruel beak it had vowed that if it escaped thence 
it would end its days in a small hole. At these words the wall, moved 
with compassion, was content to give it shelter in the spot where it 
had fallen. And within a short space of time the nut began to burst 
open and to put its roots in among the crevices of the stones, and push 
them farther apart and throw up shoots out of its hollow, and these 
soon rose above the top of the building; and as the twisted roots grew 
thicker they commenced to tear asunder the walls and force the ancient 
stones out of their old positions. Then the wall too late and in vain 
deplored the cause of its destruction, and in a short time it was 
torn asunder and a great part fell in ruin. 

The ape on finding a nest of small birds approached them with great 
joy, but as they were already able to fly he could only catch the small- 
est. Filled with joy he went with it in his hand to his hiding place; and 
having commenced to look at the tiny bird he began to kiss it; and in 
his uncontrollable affection he gave it so many kisses and turned it over 
and squeezed it, until he took away its life. This is said for those who 
by being too fond of 1 their children bring misfortune upon them. 
, C.A. 67 r. a 

The unhappy willow, on finding herself unable to enjoy the pleas- 
ure of seeing her slender boughs attain to such a height as she desired, 
or even point towards the sky, because she was continually being 
maimed and lopped and spoiled for the sake of the vine or any other 
tree which happened to be near, summoned up all her faculties and by 
this means opened wide the portals of her imagination, remaining in 
continual meditation, and seeking in the world of plants for one where- 
with to ally herself which could not need the help of her branches. So 
continuing for a time with her imagination at work, the thought of the 
gourd suddenly presented itself to her mind, and all her branches 
quivered in her intense joy, for it seemed to her that she had found the 

1 MS. per non gastigare. 

FABLES 1063 

right companion for the purpose she desired, because the gourd is by 
nature more fitted to bind others than to be bound herself. After com- 
ing to this conclusion she lifted up her branches towards the sky and 
waited, on the look out for some friendly bird to serve as the interme- 
diary of her desire. Among the rest she descried the magpie near to 
her and said to him: 'O gentle bird, by the refuge you have lately 
found among my branches at dawn, when the hungry, cruel, and 
rapacious falcon has wished to devour you, by that rest you have often 
found in me when your wings craved rest, by those delights you have 
enjoyed among my branches in amorous dalliance with your compan- 
ions, I entreat you to go and seek out the gourd and obtain from her 
some of her seeds, telling her that I will care for whatever is born from 
them as though they were my own offspring, and in like manner use 
all such words as may incline her to the like purpose, though to you 
who are a master of language there is no need for me to give instruc- 
tion. If you will do this I am content to let your nest be in the fork of 
my boughs together with all your family without payment of any rent.' 
So the magpie, after stipulating with the willow for certain further 
conditions, the most important being that she should never admit upon 
her boughs any snake or polecat, cocked his tail and lowered his head, 
and casting himself loose from the bough let himself float on his 
wings; and beating about with these in the fleeting air, seeking hither 
and thither, and guiding himself by using his tail as a rudder, he 
came to a gourd, and after courteously saluting her obtained by a few 
polite word the seeds for which he sought. On taking these back to 
the willow he was welcomed with joyful looks; and then scraping 
away with his foot some of the earth near the willow he planted the 
grains with his beak round about her in a circle. 

These soon began to grow, and as the branches increased and opened 
out they began to cover all the branches of the willow, and their great 
leaves shut away from it the beauty of the sun and the sky. And all 
this evil not sufficing, the gourds next began to drag down to the 
ground in their rude grip the tops of the slender boughs, twisting them 
and distorting them in strange shapes. Then the willow after shaking 
and tossing herself to no purpose to make the gourds loose their hold, 
and vainly for days cherishing such idle hopes, since the grasp of the 
gourds was so sure and firm as to forbid such thoughts, seeing the 

1064 FABLES 

wind pass by, forthwith commended herself to it. And the wind blew 
hard; and it rent open tiie willow's old and hollow trunk, tearing it in 
two parts right down to its roots; and as they fell asunder she vainly 
bewailed her fate, confessing herself born to no good end. 

Some flames had already lived for a month in a glass-furnace when 
they saw a candle approaching in a beautiful and glittering candlestick. 
They strove with great longing to reach it; and one of their number 
left its natural course and wound itself into an unburnt brand upon 
which it fed, and then passed out at the other end by a small cleft to 
the candle which was near, and flung itself upon it, and devouring it 
with the utmost voracity and greed consumed it almost entirely; then 
desirous of prolonging its own life, it strove in vain to return to the 
furnace which it had left, but was forced to droop and die together 
with the candle. So at last in lamentation and regret it was changed to 
foul smoke, leaving all its sisters in glowing and abiding life and 

Wine, the divine liquor of the grape, finding itself in a golden richly 
chased cup upon Mahomet's table, after being transported with pride at 
such an honour, was suddenly assailed by a contrary feeling, and said 
to itself : What am I doing? What is it that I am rejoicing at? Can- 
not I see that I am near to my death, in that I am about to leave my 
golden dwelling in this cup and enter into the foul and fetid caverns 
of the human body, to be there transformed from a sweet fragrant 
nectar to a foul and disgusting fluid? And such an evil not sufficing, 
I must needs lie for a long time in foul receptacles with other noisome 
and putrid matter evacuated from the human intestines.' It cried to 
heaven demanding vengeance for such injury and that an end might 
be put to such an insult, so that since that part of the country pro- 
duced the most beautiful and finest grapes in the whole world these at 
least should not be turned into wine. Then Jove caused the wine 
which Mahomet drank to rise in spirit up to the brain, and to infect 
this to such a degree as to make him mad; and he committed so many 
follies that when he came to his senses he made a decree that no Asiatic 
should drink wine; and thus the vine and its fruits were left at liberty. 

As soon as the wine has entered into the stomach it commences to 
swell up and boil over; and then the spirit of that man commences to 

FABLES 1065 

abandon his body, and rising as though towards the sky it reaches the 
brain, which causes it to become divided from the body; and so it 
begins to infect him and to cause him to rave like a madman; and so 
he perpetrates irreparable crimes, killing his own friends. 

C.A. 67 r. b 

The rat was being besieged in its tiny house by the weasel which 
with unceasing vigilance was awaiting its destruction, and through a 
tiny chink it was considering its great danger. Meanwhile the cat came 
and suddenly seized hold of the weasel and immediately devoured it. 
Thereupon the rat, profoundly grateful to its deity, having offered up 
some of its hazel-nuts as a sacrifice to Jove, issued forth from its hole 
in order to repossess itself of the liberty it had lost, and was instantly 
deprived of this and of life itself by the cruel claws and teeth of the cat. 

C.A. 67 v. a 

Fable of the tongue bitten by the teeth. 

The cedar, arrogant by reason of its beauty, despising the plants 
which were round about it, caused them to be all removed from its 
presence, and then the wind, not meeting with any obstacle, tore it up 
by the roots and threw it on to the ground. 

The ant having found a grain of millet, the grain as it felt itself 
seized by it cried out: 'If you will do me the great favour of allowing 
me to fulfil my desire to germinate I will give you of myself a hundred- 
fold.' And so it was. 

The spider, having found a bunch of grapes, which because of its 
sweetness was much visited by bees and various sorts of flies, fancied 
that it had found a spot very suitable for its wiles. And after having 
lowered itself down by its fine thread and entered its new habitation, 
there day by day, having ensconced itself in the tiny holes made by 
the spaces between the various grapes in the bunch, like a robber it 
assaulted the wretched animals which were not on their guard against 
it. But after some days had passed the keeper of the vineyard cut this 
bunch off and placed it with the others, and it was pressed with them. 
And the grapes therefore served as trap and snare for the deceiving 
spider as well as for the flies whom he had deceived. 

io66 FABLES 

The traveller's joy, not remaining contented in its hedge, com- 
menced to pass across the high road with its branches and to attach 
itself to the opposite hedge; whereupon it was broken by the passers-by. 

The ass having fallen asleep upon the ice of a deep lake, the heat of 
its body caused the ice to melt, and the ass being under water awoke to 
his great discomfort, and was speedily drowned. 

A certain patch of snow, finding itself clinging to the top of a rock 
which was perched on the extreme summit of a very high mountain, 
being left to its own imagination began to reflect and to say within 
itself : 'Shall I not be thought haughty and proud for having placed 
myself in so exalted a spot, being indeed a mere morsel of snow? And 
for allowing that such a vast quantity of snow as I see around me 
should take a lower place than mine? Truly my small dimensions do 
not deserve this eminence; and in proof of my insignificance I may 
readily acquaint myself with the ate which but yesterday befell my 
companions, who in a few hours were destroyed by the sun; and this 
came about from their having placed themselves in a loftier station 
than was required of them. I will flee from the wrath of the sun, and 
abase myself, and find a place that befits my modest size.' 

Then throwing itself down, it began to descend, rolling down from 
the lofty crags on to the other snow; and the more it sought a lowly 
place, the more it increased in bulk, until at last ending its course upon 
a hill, it found itself almost the equal in size of the hill on which it 
rested, and it was the last of the snow which was melted that summer 
by the sun. 

This is said for those who by humbling themselves are exalted. 

The hawk, being unable to endure with patience the way in which 
the duck was hidden from him when she fled before him and dived 
beneath the water, desired also to follow in pursuit beneath the water; 
and getting its wings wetted it remained in the water; and the duck 
raised herself in the air and mocked at the hawk as it drowned. 

The spider, wishing to capture the fly in its secret web, was cruelly 
slain above it by the hornet. 

The eagle, wishing to mock at the owl, got its wings smeared with 
bird-lime and was captured by man and killed, C.A. 67 v. b 

FABLES 1067 


The cedar, having conceived the desire of bearing on its summit a 
large and beautiful fruit, set itself to carry it into effect with all the 
powers of its sap; which fruit after it had grown was the cause of 
making the tall and slender summit bend down. 


The peach-tree, Being envious of the great quantity of fruit that it 
saw its neighbour the nut-tree bearing, decided to do the same, and 
loaded itself with its fruit to such an extent that the weight of this 
fruit threw it down, uprooted and broken, level with the ground. 


The nut-tree, displaying to the passers-by upon the road the richness 
of its fruit, every man stoned it. 

When the fig-tree stood without fruit no one looked at it. Wishing 
by producing this fruit to be praised by men, it was bent and broken 
by them. 

The fig-tree, standing near to the elm, and perceiving that her boughs 
bore no fruit themselves, yet had the hardihood to keep away the sun 
from her own, unripe figs, rebuked her, saying: O Elm, are you not 
ashamed to stand in front of me? Only wait until my children are 
fully grown and you will see where you will find yourself.* But when 
her offspring were ripe a regiment of soldiers came to the place, and 
they tore off the branches of the fig-tree in order to take her figs, and 
left her all stripped and broken. 

And as she thus stood maimed in all her limbs the elm questioned 
her saying: *O Fig tree, how much better was it to be without chil- 
dren than to be brought by them to so wretched a pass?' C.A. 76 r. a 

The fire rejoicing in the dried wood which it had found in the fire- 
-place, and having taken hold of it, perceiving itself to have grown 
enormously above the wood and to have made itself of considerable 

io68 FABLES 

size, commenced to exalt its gentle and tranquil soul in puff ed-up and 
insupportable pride, making itself almost believe that it had drawn the 
whole o the superior element down into the few logs. And com- 
mencing to fume and fill all the fireplace round about it with explo- 
sions and showers of sparks, already the flames which had become 
big were all in conjunction making their way towards the air; then 
the highest flames striking upon the bottom of the saucepan above . . . 

A vestige of fire which had remained in a small lump of charcoal 
among the warm embers, was very scantily and poorly nourished by 
the small quantity of nutriment that was left there. When the superin- 
tendent of the kitchen arrived there in order to perform her usual work 
of preparing the food, having placed the logs on the hearth, and having 
succeeded by means of a sulphur-match in getting a small flame from 
the charcoal though it was almost extinct, she set it among the logs 
which she had arranged and took a saucepan and set it over it and 
without any misgivings went away from it. 

Then the fire, after rejoicing at the dried logs placed upon it, began 
to ascend and drive out the air from the spaces between the logs, twin- 
ing itself in among them in sportive and joyous progress, and having 
commenced to blow through the spaces between the logs out of which 
it had made delightful windows for itself, and to emit gleaming and 
shining flames, it suddenly dispels the murky darkness of the closed-in 
kitchen, and the flames having already increased began to play joy- 
fully with the air that surrounded them, and singing with gentle mur- 
mur they created a sweet sound. C.A. 116 v. b 

The thrushes rejoiced greatly on seeing a man catch the owl and 
take away her liberty by binding her feet with strong bonds. But then 
by means of bird-lime the owl was the cause of the thrushes losing not 
only their liberty but even their life. This is said of those states which 
rejoice at seeing their rulers lose their liberty, in consequence of which 
they afterwards lose hope of succour and remain bound in the power 
of their enemy, losing their liberty and often life. C.A. 117 r. b 

While the dog was asleep on the coat of a sheep, one of its fleas, be- 
coming aware of the smell of the greasy wool, decided that this must 
be a place where the living was better and more safe from the teeth 

FABLES 1069 

and nails of the dog than getting his food on the dog as he did. With- 
out more reflection therefore it left the dog and entering into the thick 
wool began with great toil to try to pass to the roots of the hairs; which 
enterprise however after much sweat it found to be impossible, owing 
to these hairs being so thick as almost to touch each other, and there 
being no space there where the flea could taste the skin. Consequently 
after long labour and fatigue it began to wish to go back to its dog 
which however had already departed, so that after long repentance and 
bitter tears it was obliged to die of hunger. C.A. 119 r. a 

Once upon a time the razor emerging from the handle which served 
it as a sheath, and placing itself in the sun, saw the sun reflected on its 
surface, at which thing it took great pride, and turning it over in its 
thoughts it began to say to itself: 'Am I to go back any more to that 
shop from which I have just now come away? No surely! It cannot 
be the pleasure of the gods that such radiant beauty should stoop to 
such vile uses! What madness would that be which should induce me 
to scrape the lathered chins of rustic peasants and to do such menial 
service? Is this body made for actions such as these? Certainly not! I 
will go and hide myself in some retired spot, and there pass my life in 
tranquil ease. 9 

And so having hidden itself away for some months, returning one 
day to the light and coming out of its sheath it perceived that it had 
acquired the appearance of a rusty saw, and that its surface no longer 
reflected the sun's radiance. In vain with useless repentance it be- 
moaned its irreparable hurt, saying to itself: 'Ah how much better 
would it have been to have let the barber use that lost edge of mine 
that had so rare a keenness! Where now is the glittering surface? In 
truth the foul insidious rust has consumed it away!' 

The same thing happens with minds which in lieu of exercise give 
themselves up to sloth; for these like the razor lose their keen edge, 
and the rust of ignorance destroys their form. 

A stone of considerable size, only recently left uncovered by the 
waters, stood in a certain spot perched up at the edge of a delightful 
copse, above a stony road, surrounded by plants bright with various 
flowers of different colours, and looked upon the great mass of stones 
which lay heaped together in the road beneath. And she became filled 

1070 FABLES 

with longing to let herself down there, saying within herself: 'What 
am I doing here with these plants? I would fain dwell in the company 
of my sisters yonder'; and so letting herself fall she ended her rapid 
course among her desired companions. But when she had been there 
for a short time she found herself in continual distress from the wheels 
of the carts, the iron hoofs of the horses and the feet of the passers-by. 
One rolled her over, another trampled upon her; and at times she 
raised herself up a little as she lay covered with mud or the dung of 
some animal, and vainly looked up at the place from whence she had 
departed as a place of solitude and quiet peace. 

So it happens to those who, leaving a life of solitude and contempla- 
tion, choose to come and dwell in cities among people full of infinite 
wickedness. C.A. 175 v. a 

As the painted butterfly was idly wandering and flitting about 
through the darkened air a light came within sight, and thither im- 
mediately it directed its course, and flew round about it in varying 
circles marvelling greatly at such radiant beauty. And not contented 
merely to behold, it began to treat it as was its custom with the fragrant 
flowers, and directing its flight it approached with bold resolve close 
to the light, which thereupon consumed the tips of its wings and legs 
and the other extremities; and then dropping down at the foot of it, 
it began to consider with astonishment how this accident had been 
brought about; for it could not so much as entertain a thought that 
any evil or hurt could possibly come to it from a thing so beautiful; 
and then having in part regained the strength which it had lost, it 
took another flight and passed right through the body of the flame, 
and in an instant fell down burned into the oil which fed the flame, 
preserving only so much life as sufficed it to reflect upon the cause of 
its destruction, saying to it: 'O accursed light! I thought that in you 
I had found my happiness! Vainly do I lament my mad desire, and 
by my ruin I have come to know your rapacious and destructive 

To which the light replied: 'Thus do I treat whoever does not 
know how to use me aright.' 

This is said for those who when they see before them these carnal 
and worldly delights, hasten towards them like the butterfly, without 

FABLES 1071 

ever taking thought as to their nature, which they know after long 
usage to their shame and loss. 

The flint on being struck by the steel marvelled greatly and said to 
it in a stern voice: 'What arrogance prompts you to annoy me? 
Trouble me not, for you have chosen me by mistake; I have never 
done harm to anyone.' To which the steel made answer: 'If you will 
be patient you will see what a marvellous result will issue forth from 

At these words the flint was pacified and patiently endured its mar- 
tyrdom, and it saw itself give birth to the marvellous element of fire 
which by its potency became a factor in innumerable things. 

This is said for those who are dismayed at the outset of their studies, 
and then set out to gain the mastery over themselves and in patience 
to apply themselves continuously to those studies, from which one sees 
result things marvellous to relate. C.A. 257 r. b 

The lily planted itself down upon the bank of the Ticino, and the 
stream carried away the bank and with it the lily. H 44 r. 

The oyster being thrown out with other fish near to the sea from 
the house of a fisherman, prayed to a rat to take him to the sea; the 
rat who was intending to devour him bade him open, but then as he 
bit him the oyster squeezed his head and held it; and the cat came 
and killed him. H 51 [3] v. 

The pen has necessary companionship with the penknife, and more- 
over useful companionship for the one without the other is ineffective. 

L cover v. 

When the crab had placed itself beneath the rock in order to catch 
the fish that entered underneath it, the wind came with ruinous down- 
fall of the rocks, and these by rolling themselves down destroyed the 

The spider had placed itself among the grapes to catch the flies that 
fed on them. The time of vintage came and the spider was trodden 
under foot together with the grapes. 

1072 FABLES 

The vine that has grown old upon the old tree falls together with 
the destruction of this tree. It was by reason of its bad company that it 
failed together with it. 

The torrent carried away so much earth and stones in its bed that it 
was then obliged to change its position. 

The net which was accustomed to catch fish was destroyed and 
carried away by the fury of the fish. 

The ball of snow the more it rolled as it descended from the moun- 
tains of the snow was continually more and more increasing its size. 

The willow which by reason of its long shoots and by growing so as 
to surpass every other plant had become the companion of the vine 
which is pruned every year, was also itself always mutilated. 

B.M. 42 v. 

The water on finding itself in the proud sea, its element, was seized 
with a desire to rise above the air; and aided by the element of fire 
having mounted up in thin vapour, it seemed almost as thin as the air 
itself; and after it had risen to a great height it came to where the air 
was more rarefied and colder, and there it was abandoned by the fire; 
and the small particles being pressed together were united and became 
heavy; and dropping from thence its pride was put to rout, and it fell 
from the sky, and was then drunk up by the parched earth, where for a 
long time it lay imprisoned and did penance for its sin. 

Forfcter in 2 r. 

The light above the candle is fire in a chain; consuming that it con- 
sumes itself. 

The wine consumed by the drunkard, this wine revenges itself upon 
the drinker. Forster in 21 r. 

The ink is arraigned for its blackness by the whiteness of the paper, 
which sees itself soiled by it. 

The paper on seeing itself all spotted by the murky blackness of the 
ink grieves over it; and this ink shows it that by the words which it 
composes upon it it becomes the cause of its preservation. 

Forster in 27 r. 

FABLES 1073 

The fire, when heating the water placed in the cooking-pot, says 
to the water that it does not deserve to stand above the fire, the king of 
the elements; and so it wishes by the violence with which it boils to 
drive away the water from the cooking-pot; this, therefore, in order to 
show it honour by obeying it, descends below and drowns the fire. 

Forster in 30 r. 

The knife, an artificial weapon, deprives man of his nails his natu- 
ral weapon. 

The mirror bears itself proudly, holding the queen mirrored within 
it, and after she has departed the mirror remains abject. 

Forster in 44 v. 

The heavy iron is reduced to such a state of thinness by the file that 
a breath of wind suffices to carry it away. Forster in 47 r. 

The plant complains of the dry and old stick which was placed at 
its side and of the dry stakes that surround it; the one keeps it upright, 
the other protects it from bad companions. Forster in 47 v. 

A Bestiary 

'Nature has given such power of understanding to 

animals that in addition to the perception of what 

is to their own advantage they J^now what is to the 

disadvantage of the enemy.' 


THE lark is a bird of which it is told that i it is taken into the pres- 
ence of anyone who is ill, then if the sick person is going to die the 
bird turns away its head and does not look at him. But if the sick per- 
son is going to recover, the bird never takes its eyes off him, and is the 
cause of all his sickness leaving him. Similarly the love of virtue never 
regards a mean or bad thing, but always rather dwells among things 
honest and virtuous, and repatriates itself in noble hearts like birds in 
green forests upon flowery branches. And this love reveals itself more 
in adversity than in prosperity, acting as does light which shines most 
where it finds the darkest spot. 1 H 5 r. 


Of the kite one reads that when it sees that its children in the nest 
are too fat it pecks their sides out of envy and keeps them without 


Cheerfulness is characteristic of the cock, for it rejoices over every 
little thing and sings with varied and joyous movements. 

1 The allegories about animals in this Manuscript arc derived from early bestiaries. 
The extent o Leonardo's debt to his sources is set forth by Gcrolamo Calvi in tt 
Manoscritto H di L da V. II 'Fiore di Virtu' e L'Accrba di Cccco d'Ascoti. Archivio 
Storico Lombardo Anno XXV Fasc. XIX 1898. 




Sadness may be compared to the raven, which on seeing its newborn 
children white, departs with great grief and abandons them with sad 
lamentations, and does not give them any food until it discerns a few 
black feathers. H 5 v. 


Of the beaver one reads that when it is pursued, knowing this to be 
on account of the virtue of its testicles for medicinal uses, not being 
able to flee any farther it stops, and in order to be at peace with its 
pursuers bites off its testicles with its sharp teeth and leaves them to its 


It is said of the bear that when he goes to the beehives to take the 
honey from them, the bees commence to sting him, so that he leaves 
the honey and rushes to avenge himself; and wishing to take venge- 
ance upon all those who are biting him he fails to take vengeance 
on any, with result that his course becomes changed to frenzy, and ia 
his exasperation he throws himself upon the ground, vainly trying to 
defend himself with his hands and feet. H 6 r. 


The virtue of gratitude is said to be found especially in the birds 
called hoopoe^ which being conscious of the benefits they have re- 
ceived from father and mother in life and nourishment, when they 
see these becoming old make a nest for them and cherish them and 
feed them, plucking out their old and shabby feathers with their beaks, 
and by means of certain herbs restoring their sight, so that they return 
to a state of prosperity. 


The toad feeds on earth and always remains lean because it never 
satisfies itself, so great is its fear lest the supply of earth should fail. 

H 6 v. 



The pigeons serve as a symbol of ingratitude; for when they are of 
an age no longer to have need of being fed, they commence to fight 
with their father, and the combat does not end until the young one 
has driven his father out and taken his wife and made her his own. 


The basilisk is so exceedingly cruel that when it cannot kill animals 
with the venom of its gaze it turns towards the herbs and plants, and 
looking fixedly upon them makes them wither up. H 7 r. 


Of the eagle it is said that it never has so great a hunger that it does 
not leave of its prey to those birds which are round about; and as these 
are not able to forage for themselves it is necessary that they pay court 
to the eagle, since by this means they are fed. 


If the wolf while prowling warily round some cattle-stall should 
chance to set his foot in a trap so that he makes a noise, he bites his 
foot off in order to punish himself for his mistake. H 7 v. 


The siren sings so sweetly as to lull the mariners to sleep, and then 
she climbs upon the ships and kills the sleeping mariners. 


The ant from its natural sagacity provides in the summer for the 
winter, killing the seeds after having gathered them, in order that they 
may not germinate, and then in time it eats them. 



As the wild bull hates the colour red the hunters drape in red the 
trunk of a tree, and the bull charges it furiously and gets his horns 
fixed in it, and then the huntsmen kill him. H 8 r. 


We may compare the virtue of justice to the king of the bees, who 
orders and arranges everything on a system, because some bees are 
ordered to go among the flowers, others are ordered to work, others to 
fight with the wasps, others to take away the dirt, others to accompany 
and attend the king. And when he becomes old and has no wings 
they carry him, and if any one of them fail in his duty he is punished 
without any forgiveness. 


Although partridges steal each other's eggs nevertheless the children 
born from these eggs always return to their true mother. H 8 v. 


The cranes are so faithful and loyal to their king that at night when 
he is asleep some pace up and down the meadow to keep guard over 
him from a distance; others stand near at hand, and each holds a stone 
in his foot, so that if sleep should overcome them the stone would fall 
and make such a noise that they would be wakened up. There are 
others who sleep together around the king, and they do this every 
night taking it in turn so that their king may not come to find them 


The fox when he sees a flock of magpies or jackdaws or birds of this 
kind, instantly throws himself on the ground with mouth open in such 
a way as to seem dead: the birds think to peck at his tongue and he 
bites off their heads. H 9 r. 



The mole has very small eyes and always remains underground; it 
lives as long as it stays in concealment, and as soon as ever it comes to 
the light it instantly dies, because it becomes known So it is with 
a lie. 


The lion never feels fear; on the contrary it fights with a stout heart 
in fierce combat against the crowd of hunters, always seeking to injure 
the first who has injured him. 


The hare is always timid, and the leaves that fall from the trees in 
autumn keep it always in fear and often cause it to flee. H 9 v. 


The falcon only preys on large birds, and it would let itself die before 
it would feed on the young or eat putrid flesh. 


As regards this vice we read of the peacock being more subject to it 
than any other creature, because it is always contemplating the beauty 
of its tail, spreading it out in the form of a wheel and attracting to 
itself by its cries the attention of the surrounding animals. 

And this is the last vice that can be conquered. H 10 r. 


For constancy the phoenix serves as a type; for understanding by 
nature its renewal it is steadfast to endure the burning flames which 
consume it, and then it is reborn anew. 


The swift is put for inconstancy, for it is always in movement, since 
it cannot endure the slightest discomfort. 



The camel is the most lustful animal that there is, and it will follow 
the female a thousand miles, but if it lived continually with its mother 
or sister it would never touch them, so well does it know how to 
control itself. H 10 v. 


The unicorn through its lack of temperance, and because it does not 
know how to control itself for the delight that it has for young maidens, 
forgets its ferocity and wildness; and laying aside all fear it goes up to 
the seated maiden and goes to sleep in her lap, and in this way the 
hunters take it. 


Of humility one sees the supreme instance in the lamb, which sub- 
mits itself to every animal. And when they are given as food to lions 
in captivity they submit themselves to them as to their own mothers, 
in such a way that it has often been seen that the lions are unwilling 
to kill them. H n r. 


The falcon from its haughtiness and pride thinks to overcome and 
lord it over all the other birds of prey, because it wishes to reign alone: 
and many times the falcon has been seen to attack the eagle the queen 
of birds. 


The wild ass if when going to the spring to drink it should find the 
water muddy, has never so great a thirst as to cause it not to abstain 
from drinking and wait until the water grows clear. 


The vulture is so given up to gluttony that it would go a thousand 
miles in order to feed on carrion, and this is why it follows armies. 

H II V. 



The turtle-dove never wrongs its mate; and if the one dies the other 
observes perpetual chastity, and never rests upon a green branch or 
drinks of clear water. 


The bat by reason of its unbridled lewdness does not follow any 
natural law in pairing, but male goes with male, female with female, 
as they chance to find themselves together. 


The ermine because of its moderation eats only once a day, and it 
allows itself to be captured by the hunters rather than take refuge in a 
muddy lair, in order not to stain its purity. H 12 r. 


The eagle when it is old flies so high that it scorches its feathers; 
and nature consents that it renews its youth by falling into shallow 

And if its young ones cannot bear to gaze at the sun it does not feed 
them. No bird that does not wish to die should approach its nest. The 
animals go much in fear of it but it does not harm them. It always 
leaves them a portion of its prey. 


This is born in Asia Magna and shines so brightly that it absorbs its 
shadows. And in dying it does not lose this light, and the feathers 
never fall out. And the feather which is detached ceases to shine. 

H 12 v. 


This bears a great love to its young; and if it finds them slain in the 
nest by a serpent it pierces itself to the heart in their presence, and by 
bathing them with a shower of blood it restores them to life. 



The salamander in the fire refines its rough skin. For virtue. 
It has no digestive organs and does not seek any other nourishment 
than fire, and often in this it renews its rough skin. 


This lives on air and it is there at the mercy o all the birds. And in 
order to be safer it flies above the clouds, and there finds an air that is 
so rarefied as to be incapable of supporting any bird that would follow 

At this height there flies nothing save that to whom it is given by 
the heavens : it is there that the chameleon flies. H 13 r. 

The alepo cannot live out of water. 


For armies, food of commanders. 

It extracts nourishment from iron; hatches eggs by its gaze. 


The swan is white without any spot, and sings sweetly as it dies; this 
song ends its life. 


It cures itself of sickness by drinking salt water. If it finds its com- 
panion in fault it abandons her. When it is old its young ones brood 
over it and nourish it until it dies. H 13 v. 


This with its song puts the cuckoo to silence. It dies in oil and is 
revived in vinegar. It sings through the burning heats. 



For vice which cannot endure where virtue is. 
This loses its sight more where the light has more radiance, and be- 
comes more blinded the more it looks at the sun. 


This changes from female to male and forgets its former sex. Out 
of envy it steals the eggs of others and hatches them, but the young 
ones follow their true mother. 


This by means of celandine opens the eyes of its little ones when 
blind. H 14 r. 


This opens completely when the moon is full: and when the crab 
sees it it throws a piece of stone or a twig into it and thus prevents it 
from closing up, so that it serves the crab for a meal. 

So it may be with the mouth when it tells its secret, that it puts itself 
at the mercy of the indiscreet listener. 


This is shunned by all the serpents; the weasel fights with it by 
means of rue and slays it. Rue for virtue. 


This carries sudden death in its fangs; and in order not to hear the 
enchantments it stops up its ears with its tail. H 14 v. 


This twines itself round the legs of the elephant, and it falls upon 
him and both die. And in dying it has its revenge. 



This in pairing buries her mouth and at the end clenches her teeth 
and kills her husband; afterwards the sons having waxed big within 
her body tear open her belly and slay their mother. 


The saliva spat out upon the scorpion when fasting slays it after the 
manner of abstinence from gluttony, which carries away and puts an 
end to the illnesses that proceed from this gluttony, and opens the path 
to the virtues. H 15 r. 


This animal seizes a man and instantly kills him; and after he is 
dead it mourns for him with a piteous voice and many tears, and 
having ended its lament it cruelly devours him. It is thus with the 
hypocrite, whose face is bathed with tears over every slight thing, 
showing himself thus to have the heart of a tiger; he rejoices in his 
heart over another's misfortunes with a face bedewed with tears. 


The toad shuns the light of the sun: if however it be kept in it by 
force it puflEs itself out so much as to hide its head below and deprives 
itself of its rays. So acts whoever is the enemy of clear and radiant 
virtue, who cannot maintain itself in its presence save by force, with 
puffed-up courage. H 17 r. 


The caterpillar which through the care exercised in weaving round 
itself its new habitation with admirable design and ingenious work- 
manship, afterwards emerges from it with beautiful painted wings, ris- 
ing on these towards heaven. 



The spider brings forth out of herself the delicate and subtle web 
which gives back to it as its reward the prey that it has taken. 

H 17 v. 


This animal with its resounding roar rouses its cubs on the third day 
after their birth and teaches them the use of all their dormant senses, 
and all the wild creatures which are in the forest flee away. 

One may liken these to the children of virtue who are wakened by 
the sound of praise: their studies grow in distinction, raising them 
continually more and more, and at the sound all that is evil flees away, 
shunning those who are virtuous. 

The lion also covers over his tracks so as to leave nothing to indicate 
his course to his enemies. So it is well for captains that they should 
conceal the secrets of their minds, in order that the enemy may have 
no conception of their plans. H 18 r, 


The bite of the tarantula fixes a man in his purpose, that is in what 
he was thinking about when he was bitten. 


These punish those who have a skirmish with them by depriving 
them of life; and nature has so ordained in order that they may be fed. 

H 18 v. 


The great elephant has by nature qualities which rarely occur among 
men, namely probity, prudence, and the sense of justice and of re- 
ligious observance. Consequently when there is a new moon they go to 
the rivers, and there having solemnly purified themselves they proceed 
to bathe, and after thus saluting the planet they go back to the woods. 
And when they are ill they throw themselves upon their backs and 


toss up plants toward heaven as though they wished to offer sacrifice. 
They bury their tusks when they drop out from old age. Of these two 
tusks they use one to dig up roots in order to feed themselves and keep 
the point of the other sharp in order to fight with it 

When they are conquered by the hunters and overcome by fatigue 
the elephants clash their tusks, and having thus broken them off use 
them for their ransom. 

They are mild in disposition and are conscious of dangers. 

If one of them should come upon a man alone who has lost his way 
he puts him back peacefully in the path from which he has wandered. 
If he should come upon the man's footprints before he sees him he 
fears a snare, and so he stops and blows through his trunk as he shows 
them to the other elephants; and these then form themselves into a 
company and advance cautiously. 

These animals always proceed in companies. The oldest goes in 
front and the next oldest remains the last, and thus they enclose the 

They fear shame and only pair at night and secretly, and do not 
rejoin the herd after pairing until they have first bathed themselves in 
the river. 

They do not fight over their females as other creatures do. 

It is so peaceable that its nature does not allow it willingly to injure 
creatures less powerful than itself. If it should chance to meet a drove 
or flock of sheep it puts them aside with its trunk so as to avoid 
trampling upon them with its feet; and it never injures others unless 
it is provoked. When one of them has fallen into a pit the others 
fill the pit with branches, earth and stones, so that they raise the floor 
in such a way that it may easily make its escape. They have a great 
dread of the grunting of pigs and retreat hastily before it, causing no 
less damage with their feet to each other than to their enemies. They 
delight in rivers and are always wandering about in their vicinity; but 
on account of their great weight they are unable to swim. They devour 
stones, and the trunks of trees are their most welcome food. They hate 
rats. Flies are much attracted by their smell, and as they settle on their 
backs they wrinkle up their skin, deepening its tight folds, and so kill 

When they are crossing rivers they send their young- towards the 


fall of the stream, and standing themselves up stream they break the 
united course of the water so that the current may not carry them 

The dragon throws itself under the elephant's body, twines its tail 
round its legs and clings to its ribs with wings and claws and bites open 
its throat. The elephant falls on top of it and the dragon bursts open; 
thus it revenges itself by the death of its enemy. 

H. 19 r. and v v 20 r, and v. 


These band themselves together in companies and twine after the 
manner of roots, cross swamps with their heads raised and swim to- 
wards where they find better pasture; and if they did not thus com- 
bine they would be drowned. So the union is made. 

H 20 v. and 21 r. 


The serpent, a very large animal, when it sees a bird in the air 
inhales its breath with such vigour as to draw the birds into its mouth. 
Marcus Regulus the Consul of the Roman army was with his army 
attacked by such a monster and almost routed. After the creature had 
been slain by a catapult it was found to measure a hundred and 
twenty-five feet, that is sixty-four and a half braccia: 1 its head towered 
above all the trees in a wood. H 21 r, 


This is a great snake which twines itself round the legs of the cow 
in such a way that it cannot move, and then it sucks it so as almost to 
dry it up. One of the species was killed on the hill of the Vatican in 
the time of the Emperor Claudius, and it had a whole boy inside it 
whom it had swallowed. H 21 r. and Y. 


This beast is a native of the island of Scandinavia. It has the shape 
o a great horse except for the differences caused by the great length of 
a lt is not always possible to harmonize Leonardo's measurements. 


the neck and ears. It crops the grass going backwards, for its upper lip 
is so long that if it were to feed while going forward it would cover 
up the grass. It has its legs without any joints and so when it wishes 
to go to sleep it leans against a tree; and the hunters after having re- 
connoitred the spot at which it is accustomed to sleep saw the tree 
almost through, and when afterwards it leans against it as it sleeps it 
falls in its sleep and so the hunters take it. Every other method of 
capturing it is bound to fail because it runs with incredible speed. 

H 21 v. 


This is a native of Paconia, and it has a neck with a mane like a 
horse: in all other respects it resembles a bull except that its horns bend 
inwards to such an extent that it cannot butt with them. This is why 
its only refuge is in flight, in which it voids its excrement a distance of 
four hundred braccia from its course, and wherever this touches it 
burns like fire. 


These keep their claws in sheath and never put them out except 
when on the back of their prey or an enemy. 


When the lioness defends her cubs from the hands of the hunters, 
in order not to be affrighted by the spears she lowers her eyes to the 
ground, so that her cubs may not be taken prisoners through her flight, 

H 22 r. 


This animal which is so terrible fears nothing more than the noise 
of empty carts and in like manner the crowing of cocks, and when it 
sees these it is much terrified, gazes at their combs with a look of fear 
and is strangely perturbed even though its face is covered. 


This has the shape of a lioness, but it is taller in the leg and slimmer 
md longer and quite white, marked with black spots after the manner 


of rosettes; all the animals are fascinated by these as they gaze at them 
and they would remain standing there always if it were not for the 
terror of its face; being conscious of this therefore it hides its face, and 
the animals that are round about it take courage and draw near so as 
to be able the better to enjoy so much beauty: it then suddenly seizes 
on the nearest and instantly devours it. H 22 v. and 23 r. 


The Bactrian have two humps, the Arabian one. They are swift in 
battle and very useful for carrying burdens. This animal is a great 
observer of rule and proportion, for it does not move at all if its load 
is larger than it is accustomed to, and if it is taken too long a journey it 
does the same and stops suddenly, so that the merchants are obliged to 
make their lodging there. H 23 r. 


This is a native of Hyrcania; it bears some resemblance to the pan- 
ther from the various spots on its skin; and it is an animal of terrifying 
speed. When the hunter finds its cubs he carries them off instantly, 
after placing mirrors at the spot from which he has taken them, and 
then immediately takes to flight upon a swift horse. 

The panther when it returns finds the mirrors fixed to the ground 
and in looking at these it thinks that it sees its own children, until by 
scratching with its paw it discovers the fraud and then following the 
scent of its cubs it pursues the hunter. And as soon as the hunter sees 
the tigress he abandons one of the cubs, and this she takes and carries 
it to her lair and instantly sets off again after the hunter, and this is 
repeated until he gains his boat. H 23 v. and 24 r. 


It is found in Ethiopia near to the principal source of the Niger. 
It is an animal which is not very large. It is sluggish in all its limbs 
and has the head so large that it carries it awkwardly, in such a way 
that it is always inclined towards the ground; otherwise it would be 
a very great pest to mankind, for anyone on whom it fixes its eyes dies 
instantly. H 24 r. 



It is found in the province of Cyrenaica and is not more than twelve 
fingers long. It has a white spot on its head of the shape of a diadem. 
It drives away every serpent by its whistling. It resembles a snake but 
does not move by wriggling, but extends itself straight forward from 
its centre. It is said that on one occasion when one of these was killed 
by a horseman's spear and its venom flowed over the spear, not only 
the man died but the horse did also. It spoils the corn, not only that 
which it touches but that upon which it breathes; it scorches the grass 
and splits the stones. H 24 r. and v. 


This on finding the den of the basilisk kills it with the smell of its 
urine by spreading this about, and the smell of this urine often kills 
the weasel itself. 


These have four small movable horns; and when they wish to feed 
they hide the whole of their body except these tiny horns under the 
leaves, and as they move these it seems to the birds that they are little 
worms wriggling about, and so they instantly descend and peck at 
them. And then the ceraste immediately wraps itself round them in a 
circle and so devours them. H 24 v. 


This has two heads, one in its usual place the other at its tail, as 
though it was not sufficient for it to throw its poison from one place 


This stations itself in trees and hurls itself like a dart, and transfixes 
the wild beasts and slays them. 


There is no remedy for the bite of this animal except instantly to 
cut away the part affected. Pestilential though it is this animal has so 
strong an affection for its companion that they always go in pairs. And 


if by a mischance one of them should be slain the other pursues the 
murderer with incredible speed, and is so alert and eager for venge- 
ance as to overcome every obstacle. It will pass through a whole 
troop seeking only to wound its enemy, traversing any distance, and 
the only ways of avoiding it are by crossing over water or by a very 
rapid flight. Its eyes turn inwards and it has large ears, and its hearing 
guides it more than its sight. H 25 r. 


This animal is the mortal enemy of the asp. It is a native of Egypt, 
and when it sees an asp near to its place it runs instantly to the mud 
or slime of the Nile and covers itself with it entirely, and then after 
drying itself in the sun smears itself again with mud, and thus drying 
itself time after time covers itself with three or four coats like coats of 
mail; after this it attacks the asp and struggles with it determinedly, 
until it seizes its opportunity and flies at its throat and chokes it. 

H 25 v. 


This is a native of the Nile. It has four feet and is dangerous both on 
land and in the water. It is the only land animal that is without a 
tongue, and it bites merely by moving its upper jaw. It grows to a 
length of forty feet, it has claws, and is covered with hide that will 
withstand any blow. It remains on land by day and in the water by 
night. When it has had its meal of fish it goes to sleep on the bank of 
the Nile with its mouth open, and then the bird called trochilus, a 
very small bird, runs immediately to its mouth, and hopping about 
among its teeth in and out proceeds to peck at the remains of its food, 
and causing it entrancing pleasure thereby tempts it to open its mouth 
more widely, and in so doing it falls asleep. No sooner does the ichneu- 
mon perceive this than it flings itself into its mouth, pierces its stomach 
and intestines, and so finally kills it. H 25 v. and 26 r. 


Nature has given such power of understanding to animals that in 
addition to the perception of what is to their own advantage they 


know what is to the disadvantage o the enemy; as a consequence the 
dolphin knows both the power of a cut from die fins which it has on 
its back, and the tenderness of the belly of the crocodile, hence when 
they fight it glides underneath it, pierces its belly and so kills it. 

The crocodile is terrifying to those who flee from him and an utter 
reward when he is being pursued. H 26 r. 


This when it feels itself becoming overloaded looks about for thorns 
or where there are the fragments of split canes, and there it rubs a vein 
so hard as to burst it open, and then having allowed as much blood to 
flow as may be necessary it besmears itself with mud and so plasters up 
the wound. It has almost the shape of a horse, with cloven hoofs, 
twisted tail, boar's tusks, and neck with flowing mane. The hide 
cannot be pierced except when it is bathing. It feeds on corn that 
grows in the fields, and makes its way into them backwards, so that 
it may appear that it has just emerged. 


This bears a resemblance to a stork, and when it feels ill it fills its 
crop with water and makes an injection with its beak. 


This when it feels itself bitten by the spider called phalangium eats 
crabs and rids itself of the poison. H 26 v. 


This when it fights with serpents eats sow-thistles and gains its 

This gives sight to its blind young with the juice of the celandine. 

This when it chases rats eats first of rue. 

io 9 2 A BESTIARY 


This cures its diseases by eating ivy. 


This when it wishes to renew itself casts its old slough, commencing 
by the head: it transforms itself in a day and a night. 


This will still fight with the dogs and the hunters after its entrails 
have fallen out. H 27 r. 


This always takes the colour of the object on which it is resting; as a 
consequence they are often devoured by the elephants together with 
die leaves on which they are resting. 


This when it has slain the chameleon purges itself with laurel. 

H 27 v. 


'Loyalty. The cranes in order that their fyng may 
not perish by their peeping bad guard stand round 
him at night holding stones in their feet. Love, fear 
and reverence write these upon the three stones of 
the crane! 

A MAN on seeing a large sword at another man's side said to him: 
'Oh you poor fellow! I have been watching you now for a long time 
tied to this weapon. Why don't you release yourself since your hands 
are free, and thus regain your liberty?' To this the other made answer: 
'This is not your affair, and in any case it is an old state of things.* 
The first feeling himself insulted said: 'I look on you as having a 
knowledge of so few matters in this world that I supposed that any- 
thing I could tell you would rank as new.* C.A. 13 r. d 

Where fortune enters there envy lays siege and strives against it, 
and when this departs it leaves anguish and remorse behind. 

When fortune comes seize her with a firm hand. In front, I counsel 
you, for behind she is bald. C.A. 76 v. a 


Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against 
cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases it will have 
no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience 
when you meet with great wrongs* and they will then be powerless to 
vex your mind. C.A. 117 v. b 

The spider, thinking to find repose within the keyhole, finds death. 

C.A. 299 v. b 

io 9 4 ALLEGORY 

A simile. A vessel of unbaked clay when broken may be remoulded, 
but not one that has passed through the fire. Tr. 68 a 

Fame should be represented in the shape o a bird, but with the 
whole figure covered with tongues instead of feathers. B 3 v. 

By the cloth that is held by the hand in the current of a running 
stream, in the water of which it leaves all its impurities, is meant 
that . . . 

By the thorn upon which are grafted good fruits is meant that which 
is not of itself predisposed to virtue, yet by the help of an instructor 
produces the most useful virtues. 

One pushes down another: by these cubes 1 are represented the life 
and conditions of mankind. G 89 r. 

Envy wounds by base calumnies, that is by slander, at which virtue 
is filled with dismay. H 60 [12] v. 

Good Report soars and rises up to heaven, for virtuous things find 
favour with God. Evil Report should be shown inverted, for all her 
works are contrary to God and tend towards hell. H 61 [13] r. 

The goldfinch will carry spurge to its little ones imprisoned in a 
cage: death rather than loss of liberty. H 63 [15] v. 

[For an allegorical representation] 

II Moro with the spectacles and Envy represented with lying Slander, 
and Justice black for II Moro. 

Labour with the vine in her hand. H 88 [40] v. 

The ermine with mud. 

Galeazzo between time of tranquillity and flight of fortune. 

The ostrich which with patience produces its young. 

Bars of gold are refined in the fire. H 98 [44 bis v.] r. 

Magnanimity. The falcon only takes the large birds, and will die 
rather than eat flesh that has become tainted. 
Constancy. Not he who begins but he who endures. 

H 101 [42 v.] r. 

Loyalty. The cranes in order that their king may not perish by their 
keeping bad guard stand round him at night holding stones in their 
*MS. has a diagram with dice. 


feet. Love, fear and reverence write these upon the three stones of 
the cranes. H 118 [25 v.] r. 

The bee may be likened to deceit, for it has honey in its mouth and 
poison behind. i 49 [i] v. 

[For an allegorical representation] 

II Moro as the figure of Fortune, with hair and robes and with hands 
held in front, and Messer Gualtieri with act of obeisance plucks him by 
the robes from below as he presents himself before him. 

Also Poverty as a hideous figure running behind a youth, whom II 
Moro covers with the skirt of his robe while he threatens the monster 
with his gilded sceptre. i 138 [90] v. 

The evil that does not harm me is as the good that does not help me. 
The rushes which hold back the tiny blades of straw when they are 
drowning, M 4 r. 

[With drawing of faggot] 
To place in the hand of ingratitude: 
Wood feeds the fire that consumes it. MS. 2038 Bib. Nat. 34 r. 


[With drawing of man blowing out candle] 

When the sun appears which drives away the general darkness, you 
extinguish the light that drives away the particular darkness, for your 
necessity and convenience. B.M. 173 r. 

Ivy is the [emblem] of longevity. Windsor: Drawings 12282 v. 

Truth the sun 

falsehood a mask 


Fire destroys falsehood, that is sophistry, and restores truth, driving 
out darkness. 

Fire is to be put for the destroyer of every sophistry and the revealer 
and demonstrator of truth, because it is light, the banisher of darkness 
which is the concealer of all essential things. 



Fire destroys all sophistry, that is deceit; and maintains truth alone, 
that is gold. 

Truth in the end cannot be concealed. 

Dissimulation profits nothing. Dissimulation is frustrated before so 
great a judge. 

Falsehood assumes a mask. 

Nothing is hidden beneath the sun. 

Fire is put for truth because it destroys all sophistry and lies, and the 
mask for falsity and lying by which the truth is concealed. 

Windsor: Drawings 12700 v. 

[Sketch. Figures seated on clouds. Rain. Ground below strewn with 

On this side Adam and on that Eve. 

Oh human misery! of how many things do you make yourself the 
slave for money! Windsor: Drawings 12698 r. 

This Envy is represented making a contemptuous motion towards 
heaven, because if she could she would use her strength against God. 
She is made with a mask upon her face of fair appearance. She is 
made wounded in the eye by palm and olive. She is made wounded 
in the ear by laurel and myrtle, to signify that victory and truth offend 
her. She is made with many lightnings issuing forth from her, to 
denote her evil speaking. She is made lean and wizened because she 
is ever wasting in perpetual desire. She is made with a fiery serpent 
gnawing at her heart. She is given a quiver with tongues for arrows, 
because with the tongue she often offends; and she is made with a 
leopard's skin, since the leopard from envy slays the lion by guile. She 
is given a vase in her hand full of flowers, and beneath these filled 
with scorpions and toads and other venomous things. She is made 
riding upon death, because envy never dying has lordship over him; 
and death is made with a bridle in his mouth and laden with various 
weapons, since these are all the instruments of death. 

In the moment when virtue is born she gives birth to envy against 
herself, and a body shall sooner exist without a shadow than virtue 
without envy. Oxford Drawings, Part ii. No. 6 


Pleasure and Pain are represented as twins, as though they were 
joined together, for there is never the one without the other; and they 
turn their backs because they are contrary to each other. 

If you shall choose pleasure, know that he has behind him one who 
will deal out to you tribulation and repentance. 

This is pleasure together with pain, and they are represented as twins 
because the one is never separated from the other. 

They are made with their backs turned to each other because they 
are contrary the one to the other. They are made growing out of the 
same trunk because they have one and the same foundation, for the 
foundation of pleasure is labour with pain, and the foundations of pain 
are vain 1 and lascivious pleasures. 

And accordingly it is represented here with a reed in the right hand, 
which is useless and without strength, and the wounds made with it 
are poisoned. In Tuscany reeds are put to support beds, to signify that 
here occur vain dreams, and here is consumed a great part of life: here 
is squandered much useful time, namely that of the morning when the 
mind is composed and refreshed, and the body therefore is fitted to 
resume new labours. There also are taken many vain pleasures, both 
with the mind imagining impossible things, and with the body taking 
those pleasures which are often the cause of the failing of life; so that 
for this the reed is held as representing such foundations. 

Oxford Drawings, Part ii. No. 7 

1 MS., vanj not varj. 


'Creatures shall be seen upon the earth who will al- 
ways be fighting one with another, with very great 
losses and frequent deaths on either side. These shall 
set no bounds to their malice . . . O Earth! what 
delays thee to open and hurl them headlong into 
the deep fissures of thy huge abysses and caverns, 
and no longer to display in the sight of heaven so 
savage and ruthless a monster?' 


SOME poor wretch will be flattered, and these same flatterers will al- 
ways be to him deceivers, robbers and assassins. 


Something will appear which will cover over the person who shall 
attempt to cover it. 


That shall come forth from hollow caves which shall cause all the 
nations of the world to toil and sweat with great agitation, anxiety and 
labour, in order to gain its aid. 


The malevolent and terrifying thing shall of itself strike such terror 
into men that almost like madmen, while thinking to escape from it, 
they will rush in swift course upon its boundless forces. 


He who shall be most necessary to whoever has need of him will be 
unknown, and if known will be held of less account. C.A. 37 v. c 




Serpents o huge size will be seen at an immense height in the air 
fighting with birds. 


There shall come forth from beneath the ground that which by its 
terrific report shall stun all who are near it, and cause men to drop 
dead at its breath, and it shall devastate cities and castles. 

C.A. 129 v. a 


There are many who hold the faith of the Son and only build 
temples in the name of the Mother. 


A large part of the bodies which have had life will pass into the 
bodies of other animals, that is the houses no longer inhabited will 
pass piece-meal through those which are inhabited, ministering to their 
needs and bearing away with them what is waste; that is to say that 
the life of man is made by the things which he eats, and these carry 
with them that part of man which is dead. 



Men will sleep and eat and make their dwelling among trees grown 
in the forests and the fields. 


It shall seem to men that they see new destructions in the sky, and 
the flames descending therefrom shall seem to have taken flight and to 
flee away in terror; they shall hear creatures of every kind speaking 
human language; they shall run in a moment, in person, to divers 


parts of the world without movement; amidst the darkness they shall 
see the most radiant splendours. O marvel o mankind! What frenzy 
has thus impelled you! You shall hold converse with animals of every 
species, and they with you in human language. You shall behold your- 
selves falling from great heights without suffering any injury; the 
torrents will bear you with them as they mingle in their rapid course. 


Many communities there will be who will hide themselves and their 
young and their victuals within gloomy caverns, and there in dark 
places will sustain themselves and their families for many months 
without any light either artificial or natural. 


And many others will be robbed of their store of provisions and 
their food, and by an insensate folk will be cruelly immersed and 
drowned. O justice of God! why dost thou not awake to behold thy 
creatures thus abused? 


From countless numbers will be stolen their little children, and the 
throats of these shall be cut, and they shall be quartered most 



Many children shall be torn with pitiless beatings out of the very 
arms of their mothers, and flung upon the ground and then maimed. 



O cities of the sea, I behold in you your citizens, women as well as 
men, tightly bound with stout bonds around their arms and legs by 


folk who will have no understanding of our speech; and you will only 
be able to give vent to your griefs and sense of loss of liberty by mak- 
ing tearful complaints, and sighs, and lamentation one to another; for 
those who bind you will not have understanding of your speech nor 
will you understand them. 


In you, O cities of Africa! your own sons shall be seen torn to pieces 
within their own houses by most cruel and savage animals of your 


O neglectful Nature, wherefore art thou thus partial, becoming to 
some of thy children a tender and benignant mother, to others a most 
cruel and ruthless stepmother? I see thy children given into slavery to 
others without ever receiving any benefit, and in lieu of any reward for 
the services they have done for them they are repaid by the severest 
punishments, and they constantly spend their lives in the service of 
their oppressor. 


First of things which relate to the reasoning animals, second those 
which have not the power of reason, third of plants, fourth of cere- 
monies, fifth of customs, sixth of propositions, decrees or disputes, 
seventh of propositions contrary to Nature (as to speak of a substance 
which the more there is taken from it is the more increased), and 
reserve the weighty propositions until the end, and begin with those of 
less import, and show first the evils and then the punishments, eight 
of philosophical things. C.A. 145 r. a 


The greatest honours and ceremonies shall be paid to men without 
their knowledge. C.A. 145 v. a 

All the astrologers will be castrated, that is the cockerels. 

C.A. 367 v. b 



Arrange in order the months and the ceremonies which are per- 
formed, and do this for the day and for the night. 


There will be many who will be moving one against another, hold- 
ing in their hands the sharp cutting iron. These will not do each other 
any hurt other than that caused by fatigue, for as one leans forward the 
other draws back an equal space; but woe to him who intervenes 
between them, for in the end he will be left cut in pieces. 


There shall be heard mournful cries and loud shrieks, hoarse angry 
voices of those who are tortured and despoiled and at last left naked 
and motionless; and this shall be by reason of the motive power which 
turns the whole. 


In all the cities and lands and castles, villages and houses, men will 
be seen who through desire of eating will draw the very food out of 
each other's mouths, without their being able to make any resistance. 


The earth will be seen turned upside down and facing the opposite 
hemispheres, and laying bare the holes where lurk the fiercest animals. 


Then a great part of the men who remain alive will throw out of 
their houses the victuals they have saved, as the free booty of the birds 
and beasts of the field, without taking any care of them. 



There will come from out the sky that which will transport a great 
part of Africa which lies beneath this sky 1 towards Europe, and that of 
Europe towards Africa; and those of the provinces will mingle to- 
gether in great revolution. 


At the last the earth will become red after being exposed to fire for 
many days, and the stones will become changed to ashes. 

The trees and shrubs of the vast forests shall be changed to ashes. 

Creatures of the water will die in boiling water. 


There shall descend with fury from the direction of the sky that 
which will give us nourishment and light. 


Many will perish by fracturing their skulls, and their eyes will 
almost start out of their heads on account of fearsome creatures which 
have come forth out of the darkness. 


That shall be revered and honoured and its precepts shall be listened 
to with reverence and love, which was at first despised and mangled 
and tortured with many different blows. 

1 MS., si mostra a esso cielo. 



Bodies without souls shall by their sayings supply precepts which 
shall help us to die well. 


Men will hide themselves within the bark of hollow trees, and there 
crying aloud they will make martyrs of themselves by beating their 
own limbs. 


And they will go wild after the things that are most beautiful to 
seek after, to possess and make use of their vilest parts; and afterwards, 
having returned with loss and penitence to their understanding, they 
will be filled with great admiration for themselves. 


Many there will be who with the utmost zeal and solicitude will 
pursue furiously that which has always filled them with awe, not 
knowing its evil nature. 




You will see that those who are considered to be of most experience 
and judgment, in proportion as they come to have less need of things, 
seek and hoard them with more eagerness. 


There will be many busied in the practice of taking from that thing 
which increases the more the more they take from it. 



And with many bodies it will be seen that as you raise your head 
from them they will increase perceptibly, and when the head that has 
been lifted up returns, their size will immediately diminish. 


There will be many hunters o animals who the more they catch 
the fewer they will have; and so conversely they will have more in 
proportion as they catch less. 


And many will be busying themselves with a thing which the more 
they draw it up will tend the more to escape in the contrary direction. 


We shall see the food of animals pass through their skins in every 
way except through the mouth, and penetrate through the opposite 
side until it reaches the level ground. 



They will make light for the dead. 


The fierce horns of powerful bulls will protect the light used at 
night from the impetuous fury of the winds. 

Flying creatures will support men with their feathers. 



The swamps will be so great that the men will go above the trees 
of their countries. 


Over a great part o the country men shall be seen walking about 
on the skins of large animals. 


There will be great winds through which the eastern things will 
become western, and those of the south mingled together in great 
measure by the course of the winds will follow these through distant 


Men shall speak with men who shall not hear them; their eyes shall 
be open and they shall not see; they will speak to them and there shall 
be no reply; they will ask pardon from one who has ears and does not 
hear; they will offer light to one who is blind, and to the deaf they 
will appeal with loud clamour. 1 


Men shall walk without moving, they shall speak with those who are 
absent, they shall hear those who do not speak. 


There shall be seen shapes and figures of men and animals which 
shall pursue these men and animals wheresoever they flee; and the 
movements of the one shall be as those of the other, but it shall seem 
a thing to wonder at because of the different dimensions which the) 

X MS., farcin lume a [chi] 2 orbo ]". . .] sordl con gran [. . .] ore. 





Many times one man shall be seen to change into three and all shall 
proceed together, and often the one that is most real abandons him. 


Within walnuts and other trees and plants there shall be found very 
great treasures which lie hidden there. 



Many by forcing their breath out too rapidly will lose the power of 
sight, and in a short time all power of sensation. 


There shall be heard in many parts of Europe instruments of various 
sizes making divers melodies, causing great weariness to those who 
hear them most closely. 


The many labours shall be repaid by hunger, thirst, wretchedness, 
blows and goadings. 


Many shall be seen carried by large animals with great speed, to the 
loss of their lives and to instant death. In the air and on the earth shall 
be seen animals of different colours, bearing men furiously to the 
destruction of their lives. 


By reason of the stars you will see men moving as swiftly as any 
swift animal. 



The movement of the dead shall cause many who are living to flee 
away with grief and lamentation and cries. 


With stone and iron things will be rendered visible which were not 
previous seen. 

The masters of the estates will eat their own labourers. 


To such a pitch of ingratitude shall men come that that which shall 
give them lodging without any price shall be loaded with blows, in 
such a way that great parts of the inside of it shall be detached from 
their place, and shall be turned over and over within it. 


Those who nourish them will be slain by them and scourged by 
barbarous death. 


The high walls of mighty cities shall be seen inverted, in their 


All the elements shall be seen confounded together, surging in huge 
rolling masSj now towards the centre of the earth, now towards the 


sky, at one time coursing in fury from the southern regions towards 
the icy north, at another time from the east to the west, and so again 
from this hemisphere to the other. 


All men will suddenly change their hemisphere. 


All the animals will move from the east to the west, and so also 
from the north to the south. 


Bodies without life will move of themselves and will carry with them 
innumerable generations of the dead, plundering the possessions of the 
living inhabitants. 


Oh! how many will those be who will never be born. 

Endless generations will perish through the death of the pregnant. 

The milk will be taken from the tiny children. 


In all the parts of Europe there shall be lamentations by great nations 
for the death of one man. 



In the horns of animals shall be seen sharp irons, which shall take 
away the lives of many of their species. 


It shall even come to pass that it will be impossible to tell the differ- 
ence between colours, for all will become black in hue. 


That which of itself is gentle and void of all offence will become 
terrible and ferocious by reason of evil companionship, and will take 
the lives of many people with the utmost cruelty; and it would slay 
many more if it were not that these are protected by bodies which are 
themselves without life, which have come forth out of pits that is by 
cuirasses of iron. 


Many dead will move with fury, and will take and bind the living, 
and will set them before their enemies in order to compass their death 
and destruction. 


There shall come forth out of dark and gloomy caves that which 
shall cause the whole human race to undergo great afflictions, perils, 
and death. To many of those who follow it, after much tribulation it 
will yield delight; but whosoever pays it no homage will die in want 
and misery. It shall bring to pass an endless number of crimes; it shall 
prompt and incite .wretched men to assassinate, to steal, and to enslave; 
it shall hold its own followers in suspicion; it shall deprive free cities 
of their rank: it shall take away life itself from many; it shall make 
men torment each other with many kinds of subterfuge, deceits, and 


O vile monster! How. much better were it for men that thou shouldst 
go back to hell I For this the vast forests shall be stripped of their trees; 
for this an infinite number of creatures shall lose their lives. 


From small beginnings shall arise that which shall rapidly become 
great; and it shall have respect for no created thing, but its power shall 
be such as to enable it to transform almost everything from its natural 


There shall be seen huge bodies devoid of life, carrying great num- 
bers of men with fierce speed to the destruction of their lives. 

C.A. 370 r. a 


Men from the most remote countries shall speak one to another and 
shall reply. 





Men shall speak with and touch and embrace each other while 
standing each in different hemispheres, and shall understand each 
other's language.- 


Many shall there be who in order to practise their calling shall put 
on the richest vestments, and these shall seem to be made after the 
manner of aprons. 


The unhappy women of their own accord shall go to reveal to men 
all their wantonness and their shameful and most secret acts. 


There will be many who will abandon work and labour and poverty 
of life and possessions, and will go to dwell among riches and in 
splendid buildings, pretending that this is a means of becoming accept- 
able to God. 


A countless multitude will sell publicly and without hindrance 
things of the very greatest value, without licence from the Lord of 
these things, which were never theirs nor in their power; and human 
justice will take no account of this. 


The simple folk will carry a great number of lights to light up the 
journeys of all those who have wholly lost the power of sight. O 
human folly! O madness of mankind! These two phrases stand for 
the commencement of the matter. 


And whereas at first young maidens could not be protected from the 
lust and violence of men, either by the watchfulness of parents or by 
the strength of walls, there will come a time when it will be necessary 
for the fathers and relatives of these maidens to pay a great price to 
whoever is willing to marry them, even although they may be rich and 
noble and exceedingly beautiful. Herein it seems certain that Nature 
desires to exterminate the human race, as a thing useless to the world 
and the destroyer of all created things, 


Creatures shall be seen upon the earth who will always be fighting 
one with another, with very great losses and frequent deaths on either 
side. These shall set no bounds to their malice; by their fierce limbs a 
great number of the trees in the immense forests of the world shall be 
laid level with the ground; and when they have crammed themselves 


with food it shall gratify their desire to deal out death, affliction, 
labours, terrors and banishment to every living thing. And by reason 
of their boundless pride they shall wish to rise towards heaven, but the 
excessive weight of their limbs shall hold them down. There shall be 
nothing remaining on the earth or under the earth or in the waters 
that shall not be pursued and molested or destroyed, and that which 
is in one country taken away to another; and their own bodies shall 
be made the tomb and the means of transit of all the living bodies 
which they have slain. O Earth! what delays thee to open and hurl 
them headlong into the deep fissures of thy huge abysses and caverns, 
and no longer to display in the sight of heaven so savage and ruthless 
a monster? 


The trees of the vast forests of Taurus and of Sinai, of the Apen- 
nines and of Adas, shall be seen speeding by means of the air from 
east to west, and from north to south, and transporting by means of 
the air a great quantity of men. Oh, how many vows! How many 
deaths! What partings between friends and relatives shall there be! 
How many who shall nevermore behold their own lands or their 
native country, and shall die unsepulchred and their bones be scattered 
in divers parts of the world! 


Many shall leave their own dwellings, and shall carry with them all 
their goods and go to dwell in other lands. 


How many will there be who will mourn for their dead ancestors, 
carrying lights for them! 


Invisible money will cause many who spend it to triumph. 



Many there will be who by means of the horns of cattle will die 
a painful death. C.A. 370 v. a 

Behold a thing which is valued the less the more one has need of it. 
It is advice. c 19 v. 

And many have made a trade in deceits and feigned miracles, cozen- 
ing the foolish herd, and if no one showed himself cognizant of their 
deceits they would impose them upon all. F 5 v. 


By the branch of the nut-tree which is struck and beaten just when 
it has brought its fruit to perfection, is represented those who as the 
sequel of their illustrious works are struck by envy in divers ways. 


All these things which in the winter are concealed and hidden be- 
neath the snow, will be left bare and exposed in summer : said of a 
lie which cannot remain hidden. i 39 v. 

You will see the lion tribe tearing open the earth with hooked claws, 
and burying themselves in the holes that they have made, together 
with the other animals which are in subjection to them. 

There shall come forth from the ground creatures clad in darkness 
who shall attack the human race with tremendous onslaughts, and it 
shall have the blood poisoned by their fierce bites even while it is 
devoured by them. 

There shall also hurtle through the air a tribe of dreadful winged 
creatures who shall attack both men and beasts, and feed upon them 
with loud cries: They shall fill their bellies full of crimson blood. 

i 63 [15] r. 

You will see the blood streaming forth from the rent flesh of men 
and bedewing the surface parts. 

You will see men with so cruel a malady that they will tear their 
flesh with their own nails: This will be the itch. 


You will see plants continuing without leaves, and rivers standing 
still in their courses. 

The water of the sea shall rise above the high summits of the moun- 
tains towards the sky, and it shall fall down again on to the dwellings 
of men: That is as clouds. 

You will see the greatest trees of the forests borne by the fury of the 
winds, from the east to the west: That is across the sea. 

Men shall cast away their own food: That is in sowing. 

i 63 [15] v. 

The generation of men shall come to such a pass as not to under- 
stand one another's speech: That is a German with a Turk. 

You will see fathers giving up their daughters to the sensuality of 
men, and rewarding them, and abandoning all their former care: 
When the girls are married. 

Men shall come forth out of the graves changed to winged creatures, 
and they shall attack other men, taking away their food even from 
their hands and tables : The flies. 

Many there will be who will flay their own mother and fold back 
her skin: The tillers of the ground. 

Happy will be those who give ear to the words of the dead: The 
reading of good works and the observing of their precepts. 

i 64 [16] r. 

Feathers shall raise men towards heaven even as they do birds: 
That is by letters written with their quills. 

The works of men's hands will become the cause of their death: 
Swords and spears. 

Men will pursue the thing they most fear: That is they will be 
miserable lest they should fall into misery. 

Things severed shall be united and shall acquire of themselves such 
virtue that they shall restore to men their lost memory: That is the 
papyrus sheets, which are formed out of severed strips and preserve the 
memory of the thoughts and deeds o men. 


You shall behold the bones of the dead by their rapid movement 
directing the fortunes of their mover: The dice. 

Oxen shall by their horns protect the fire from death: The lantern. 

The forests will bring forth young who will become the cause of 
their death: The handle of the hatchet. i 64 [16] v. 

Men will deal rude blows to that which is the cause of their life: 
They will thrash the grain. 

The skins of animals will make men rouse from their silence with 
loud cries and oaths : Balls for playing games. 

Many times the thing that is severed becomes the cause of great 
union: That is the comb made up of split canes, which unites the 
threads in the silk. 

The wind which passes through the skins of animals will make men 
leap up: That is the bagpipes, which cause men to dance. 

i 65 [17] r. 


Those which have done best will be most beaten, and their children 
will be carried off and stripped or despoiled, and their bones broken 
and crushed, 

Alas! whom do I see? The Saviour crucified again. 


There shall come forth loud noises out of the tombs of those who 
have died by an evil and violent death. 


The more you converse with skins covered over with sentiments, 
the more you will acquire wisdom. 



Then almost all the tabernacles where dwells the Corpus Domini 
will be plainly visible, walking about of themselves on the different 
roads of the world. i 65 [17] v. 

And those who feed the air will turn night into day: Tallow. 

And many creatures of the earth and of the water will mount up 
among the stars: The Planets. 

You shall see the dead carrying the living in divers parts of the 
world: The chariots and ships. 

From many the food shall be taken away out of their mouths: 
From ovens. 

And those who have their mouths filled by the hands of others, shall 
have the food taken away out of their mouths: The oven. 

i 66 [18] r. 


I see Christ again sold and crucified, and his saints suffering martyr- 


Men will come to such a state of misery that they will be grateful 
that others should profit by their sufferings, or by the loss of their true 
riches, that is health. 

Of the religion of the Friars who live by means of the Saints, who 
have been dead for a long time: 

Those who are dead will after a thousand years be those who will 
make provision for many of the living. 


Many things which have previously been destroyed by fire will 
deprive many men of their liberty. i 66 [18] v. 



Many Franciscans, Dominicans, and Benedictines will eat that which 
has recently been eaten by others, and they will remain many months 
before being able to speak. 


How many shall there be who after they are dead will lie rotting in 
their own houses, filling all the air around with their foul stench! 

i 67 [19] r. 


For someone who would be on the point of coming to the end of all 
possessions and favour. 


Those who trust themselves to inhabit near him, and these will be 
in great crowds, will almost all die a cruel death, and one will see 
fathers and mothers together with their families being devoured and 
slain by cruel animals. 1 138 [90] v. 


Shadows will come from the East which will tinge with much dark- 
ness the sky that covers Italy. 

All men will take refuge in Africa. i 139 [91] t. 



There shall appear huge figures in human shape, and the nearer to 
you they approach the more will their immense size diminish. 

K 50 [i] v. 



Many treasures and great riches will be laid upon four-footed ani- 
mals, which will carry them to divers places. L 91 r. 

Those will be drowned who give light for divine service: 
The bees which make the wax of the candles. 

The dead will come forth from under the earth, and by their fierce 
movements will drive innumerable human creatures out of the 

The iron which comes from under the earth is dead, and it makes 
the weapons wherewith so many men have been slain. 

The greatest mountains, even though they are remote from the sea 
borders, will drive the sea from its place: 

That is by the rivers which carry down the soil they have taken 
from the mountains and deposit it upon the sea shores; and where 
the earth comes the sea retires. 

The water fallen from the clouds will so change its nature as to 
remain for a long space of time upon the slopes of the mountains 
without making any movement. And this will happen in many and 
divers regions: 

The snow that falls in flakes which is water. 

The great rocks of the mountains will dart forth fire, such that they 
will burn up the timber of many vast forests and many beasts both 
wild and tame: 

The flint of the tinder-box, which makes a fire that consumes all 
the loads of faggots of which the forests are cleared, and with this 
the flesh of beasts is cooked. 

Oh! how many great buildings will be ruined by reason of fire: 
By the fire of the guns. 

The oxen will become in great part the cause of the destruction of 
cities; and so also will horses and buflF aloes: 
They draw the guns. 


Many there will be who will wax great in their destruction: 
The ball of snow rolling over the snow. 

There will be a great host who, forgetful of their existence and their 
name, will lie as though dead upon the spoils of other dead creatures: 
By sleeping upon the feathers of birds. 

The east shall be seen to rush into the west, the south into the north, 
whirling themselves round about the universe with great noise, fury 
and trembling: 

The wind from the east which will rush into the west. 

The rays of the sun will kindle fire on the earth, whereby that which 
is beneath the sky will be set alight; and, beaten back by that which 
impedes them, they will return downwards: 

The burning-glass kindles the fire with which the oven is heated, 
and this has its base standing beneath its vaulted roof. 

A great part of the sea will fly towards the sky, and for a long time 
it will not return: 

That is in clouds. B.M. 42 v. 


Men shall throw away out of their houses thos